The Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) is developing Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) approaches for use on air vehicles. This work describes a potential method for measuring quasi-static strains by monitoring the mechanical-load induced capacitive changes in a piezoelectric sensor. This approach may be combined with the well-documented capability of piezoelectric material to measure dynamic-strain, and may hence allow piezoelectric transducers to be used as low-power, single-solution strain sensors. DSTO has experimentally confirmed that the electrical impedance of a Macro Fiber Composite (MFC) piezoelectric transducer changes with varying strain. In particular, a sensitivity of 1.7 mΩ per με has been observed. With accurate transducer modelling, these changes could be used as an indication of the quasi-static strain in the underlying vehicular structure.

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