University of Sussex
Archer, James William.pdf (9.79 MB)

Pressure stimulated voltage detection in manmade and geological materials

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posted on 2023-06-09, 09:11 authored by James William Archer
This thesis investigates pressure stimulated voltages (PSVs) in manmade and geological materials using a field capable and commercially viable electric potential sensor (EPS) technology. Sensing technologies are of great importance for the structural health monitoring (SHM) of manmade and geological structures and are critical for improving the health and safety of humans and infrastructure. A wide variety of sensing technologies are needed to assess damage over structures. Work by others involves measuring pressure stimulated electrical emissions (PSEs) (i.e. the study of pressure stimulated voltage, electric field and current) that are related to acoustic emissions (AEs) in rock and cement mortar, and also mechanical properties. Although these studies yield promising results, the measurement tools (laboratory electrometers and electromagnetic emissions (EME) antennas) are not suitable for field use. This is predominantly because of the need of Faraday shielding to reduce noise, plus the impracticalities and high costs associated with using laboratory instruments for SHM. However, the EPS developed at the University of Sussex is capable of measuring PSVs in rocks and is field capable. In this thesis, PSVs in rocks and man-made materials were measured using two EPS variants. An existing capacitively coupled sensor was used to measure high frequency (25.5 mHz to 750 kHz) transient PSVs associated with cracking. In addition, a novel directly coupled smart EPS was developed for monitoring low frequency (DC to 250 Hz) PSVs associated with applied stress. A signal conditioning and data reduction procedure was developed for PSV emissions analogous to methods used for AE. A new robust method for measuring PSV was established in which cylindrical material specimens were instrumented with strain gauges, piezo transducers and EPSs to measure strain, AE and PSV respectively and a force transducer was used to measure the applied load. The results showed that PSVs were detected in a wide range of piezo and non-piezo rocks and for the first time in concrete, in the range of millivolts (0.32 mV – 1180 mV). Faraday shielding the experiments was not necessary as with other PSE monitoring technologies. For oven dried materials there was some degree of correlation between PSV high frequency transient signals and AE (i.e. cracking). Rocks had cross-correlation coefficients ranging from 0.13 to 0.86, and the cross-correlation coefficient for concrete (0.24) was lower than most rock lithologies. Environmental conditions and the stage of uniaxial deformation of materials influence PSV-AE cross-correlations. Water or saline saturation of materials generally reduced the PSV-AE cross correlation coefficients. During the cyclic loading of various rock lithology, a work hardening effect was observed in the PSV emissions analogous to the well-known Kaiser and Felicity effect of AE. A likely reason for the PSV-AE correlations is that PSVs are generated by the movement and separation of fresh charged fracture surfaces. EPS could be a cost effective and more advanced technology for detecting cracking in structures and in combination with piezo transducers, could be used to identify material deformation stages. There was a linear relationship between applied stress and DC/low frequency PSV in piezo rocks (r2 = 0.84) but not non-piezo rocks (r2 = 0.0063). The piezoelectric effect of quartz is the most likely generation mechanism behind the PSV-stress relationship. The novel, directly coupled, smart EPS is a successful design as it has the necessary high input impedance and low noise characteristics for measuring PSVs noninvasively at low frequencies. EPS could be the first non-invasive technology for in-situ stress measurement in quartz bearing rocks; current methods involve disturbing the rock mass and are expensive to implement. In conclusion, the results show that the EPS-PSV measurement technique is viable for the SHM of rocks and concrete. Although, factors such as material composition, environmental condition and type of material deformation influence PSV characteristics and would need to be accounted for in real world applications. Future directions for the research would involve the development of a “real time” PSV event detection system for long term monitoring of structures for SHM applications. Additionally, large scale testing of different material samples in different environmental conditions and the testing of larger structures using arrays of EPS would be necessary before commercialisation. Future commercialisation could result in a restively coupled broadband monolithic semiconductor EPS being developed for SHM to monitor PSVs associated with applied stress and cracking events simultaneously. This would produce a more cost effective and advanced tool than existing technologies, such as piezo transducers for monitoring AE and in-situ stress monitoring techniques.


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University of Sussex

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