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Development of strain monitoring system for glass fiber reinforced composites via embedded electrically conductive pathways

Among numerous types of health-monitoring and damage-sensing sensors that can be integrated into composites, electrically conductive sensors offer a simple, cost-effective, and durable option for structural health monitoring in fiber reinforced composites. In this study, a novel approach is introduced to create electrical conductive networks in glass fiber reinforced composites. For this purpose, hollow micro-channels are generated using vaporization of sacrificial components (VaSCs) which are subsequently filled with CNT-epoxy conductive fillers to induce conductive pathways within the composite. The presence of vascular conductive pathways was not found to hinder the structural integrity of the composites. The use of such conductive pathways for in situ strain monitoring of composites was investigated. The strain sensitivity of the prepared conductive pathways in the composite were found more than twice that of conventional strain sensors, rendering such conductive pathways a promising alternative for in-situ strain monitoring of continuous fiber-reinforced composites.