Electrical monitoring of concrete using a novel structural sensor based on conductive cementitious mortar
Paper in proceedings, 2020
This paper presents the development of a durable structural sensor based on cement-mortar modified with graphene and other carbon-based fillers. The purpose of the structural sensor is to indirectly monitor curing and service performance of concrete via electrical resistivity measurements. Electrical resistivity is an efficient parameter which can non-destructively capture intrinsic structural features of cementitious materials. The developed structural sensor is used to record electrical resistivity as a durability indicator during the whole service life of the concrete structure. To date, performance monitoring systems usually fail in the long-run before the failure of the actual monitored structure. The proposed sensor is embeddable in the interrogated structure and ensures sustainable consolidation with appropriate physico-chemical adherence and mechanical interlocking. This allows the monitoring system to surpass the expected service life of the parent concrete. Within this on-going work, the effects of different concentrations of carbon fillers on the electrical properties of cementitious mortars are reported. After an initial investigation to select the appropriate synthesis, the ability of the sensor to monitor the development of resistivity during setting and hardening was tested and the results are presented herein. Finally, the durability of the sensor was tested via electrical stability measurements under freeze-thaw cycles.