The response of embedded strain sensors in concrete beams subjected to thermal loading

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Ge, Y 
Elshafie, MZEB 
Dirar, S 
Middleton, CR 

A wide range of commercially available sensors are frequently used to record the response of civil engineering structures that may be subjected to unexpected loading scenarios, changes of environmental conditions or material deterioration. However, a common problem faced when using these sensors is to distinguish strain changes experienced by the structure due to a temperature change from strain changes that occur due to other causes. Temperature effects on strain sensors are usually accommodated by allowing for temperature effects (temperature compensation); however, there is limited research in the literature that investigates the performance of strain sensor measurements when subjected to temperature change. Understanding the temperature effect on strain sensors will greatly enhance the ability of civil engineers to monitor the performance of structural materials. In this paper, different types of commonly used and advanced strain sensors have been installed in a reinforced concrete beam to measure the thermal strain response of concrete under different temperature conditions. The experimental results demonstrated a 25-30% difference in strain measurements from the different sensors. It is shown in this paper that this difference is due to the combined effects of sensor inaccuracy, uncertainties related to the testing conditions and uncertainties associated with the temperature compensation methods.

Concrete behaviour, Strain sensors, Temperature compensation, Fibre Bragg Gratings, Brillouin backscattering, Optical fibre sensors, Vibrating Wire Strain Gauges, Thermal loading
Journal Title
Construction and Building Materials
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Elsevier BV
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/I019308/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/J004294/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/K000314/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/L010917/1)
The authors would like to acknowledge Dr. Peter Long, Martin Touhey and the Engineering Structures Laboratory technical staff at University of Cambridge for their assistance through the experimental program. The authors are also grateful to the Cambridge Center for Smart Infrastructure and Construction for supporting this research project.