Self-sensing 3D printed repair for concrete substrates

Christos Vlachakis, Lorena Biondi, Jack McAlorum, Marcus Perry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

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Continuous monitoring allows informed maintenance to more effectively prolong the lifespan of civil infrastructure. In this paper, we outline a 3D printing process for smart materials that could simultaneously support the distributed sensing and maintenance of reinforced concrete structures. The smart material employed in this research is alkali-activated metakaolin. It is already well-known that alkali activated metakaolin can attain comparable mechanical characteristics to ordinary Portland cement and is thus able to repair and restore the structural integrity of damaged concrete infrastructure. However, these materials also exhibit a higher electrical conductivity than conventional cements due to the presence of free ions in their matrix. This allows temperature and strain to be monitored through variations in electrical impedance. Here, we demonstrate additive manufacturing of these materials to allow remote installation, with greater design flexibility and repeatability. In this paper, the electrical response of printed samples is outlined, and we discuss how sensor data can be interpreted to detect strain variations for structural health monitoring applications.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStructural Health Monitoring 2019
EditorsFu-Kuo Chang, Fotis Kopsaftopolous
Place of PublicationLancaster, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781605956015
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2019
EventThe 12th International Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring - University of Stanford, Stanford, United States
Duration: 10 Sep 201912 Sep 2019


ConferenceThe 12th International Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring
Abbreviated titleIWSHM 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • self-sensing
  • 3D printing
  • repair
  • concrete substrates


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