A spray-on, nanocomposite-based sensor network for in-situ active structural health monitoring

Wuxiong Cao, Pengyu Zhou, Yaozhong Liao, Xiongbin Yang, Dongyue Pan, Yehai Li, Baojun Pang, Li Min Zhou, Zhongqing Su

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


A new breed of nanocomposite-based spray-on sensor is developed for in-situ active structural health monitoring (SHM). The novel nanocomposite sensor is rigorously designed with graphene as the nanofiller and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) as the matrix, fabricated using a simple spray deposition process. Electrical analysis, as well as morphological characterization of the sprayon sensor, was conducted to investigate percolation characteristic, in which the optimal threshold (~0.91%) of the graphene/PVP sensor was determined. Owing to the uniform and stable conductive network formed by well-dispersed graphene nanosheets in the PVP matrix, the tailor-made sprayon sensor exhibited excellent piezoresistive performance. By virtue of the tunneling effect of the conductive network, the sensor was proven to be capable of perceiving signals of guided ultrasonic waves (GUWs) with ultrahigh frequency up to 500 kHz. Lightweight and flexible, the spray-on nanocomposite sensor demonstrated superior sensitivity, high fidelity, and high signal-to-noise ratio under dynamic strain with ultralow magnitude (of the order of micro-strain) that is comparable with commercial lead zirconate titanate (PZT) wafers. The sensors were further networked to perform damage characterization, and the results indicate significant application potential of the spray-on nanocomposite-based sensor for in-situ active GUW-based SHM.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2077
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • Guided ultrasonic waves
  • Nanocomposite ultrasonic sensor
  • Spray-on
  • Structural health monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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