Campus Units

Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Center for Nondestructive Evaluation (CNDE)

Document Type


Publication Version

Submitted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Sensors and Actuators A: Physical



First Page


Last Page





Smart composite nanostructured materials represent one of the fastest-growing areas of interest among scientists in recent years and, in particular, carbon nanotube (CNT) cement-based composites are attracting more and more attention. These composites exhibit self-sensing capabilities providing measurable variations of their electrical properties under the application of mechanical deformations. Together with this exceptional property, the similarity and compatibility between these composites and structural concrete suggest the possibility of developing distributed embedded strain-sensing systems with substantial improvements in the cost-effectiveness in applications to large-scale concrete structures. In order to design and optimize CNT reinforced cement based dynamic sensors, it is fundamental to develop theoretical models capable of simulating the relationship between dynamic mechanical strains and the effective electrical conductivity. This paper presents an electromechanical modeling of the Direct Current (DC) electrical resistance of CNT reinforced cement paste sensors based on a piezoelectric/piezoresistive lumped circuit. The model represents an enhanced version and a generalization of another model previously proposed by the authors. Previously published experimental results have been used as validation benchmark. In particular, experimental tests concerning the characterization of the step response under unloaded conditions, steady state response under harmonic loadings and sweep analyses are considered. The results demonstrate that the newly proposed model is superior in comparison to the previous one in reproducing the dynamic response of the sensors when subjected to harmonic mechanical loads. Overall, an excellent agreement between theoretical predictions and experimental results is achieved.

Research Focus Area

Structural Engineering


This is a manuscript of an article published as García-Macías, Enrique, Austin Downey, Antonella D’Alessandro, Rafael Castro-Triguero, Simon Laflamme, and Filippo Ubertini. "Enhanced lumped circuit model for smart nanocomposite cement-based sensors under dynamic compressive loading conditions." Sensors and Actuators A: Physical 260 (2017): 45-57. DOI: 10.1016/j.sna.2017.04.004. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Elsevier B.V.



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Published Version