Reflection based Strain Sensing using Metamaterials
Resonator arrays of periodicially arranged electromagnetic sub-wavelength resonators show a strong frequency filter behaviour which can be controlled by the geometry, size and arrangement of the resonators. The use of several resonator arrays and their integration into a polymer matrix allows the realisation of metamaterials with a specific resonance behaviour. The resonance behaviour can be influenced by material and structural changes enabling a passive sensor function. The considered sensor approach based on metamaterials is investigated to enable structural health monitoring of lightweight structures. In the present case, a double-layer Jerusalem cross (JC) resonator array (RA) is integrated into a glass fibre reinforced plastic (GFRP) to analyse the change of the resonance behaviour under load (strain) using a reflection measurement. The CST (Computer Simulation Technology) Microwave Studio was used to model the resonator array for operation in the microwave frequency range between 15 GHz and 35 GHz as well as for the numerical analysis of the resonance behaviour under load. The numerical results were validated by a tensile test using a tensile test machine (type TIRATEST 28100, Tira GmbH) and by a reflection measurement using two standard gain horn antennas (type Standard Gain Horn Series 862, ARRA Inc) and a vector network analyser (type ZVA50, Rohde&Schwarz). The reflection measurement shows a reflection minimum at 28.6 GHz which moves to higher frequencies under load of the GFRP laminate. With the shift of the minimum, the quality factor decreases and the dip widens. The investigation shows that it is possible to provide a GFRP laminate with a specific electromagnetic behaviour by integrating resonator arrays. It is also shown that the specific electromagnetic behaviour can be influenced by structural changes and thus opens up the possibility of monitoring the condition of lightweight structures.
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