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Piezoelectric Zinc Oxide Woven Fabric Sensors for Dynamic Force and Damage Sensing

Dina A. Badawy, Heejae Yang, Frank Ko, Lisheng Wang


The objective of this work is to develop intelligent integrated composites capable of detecting the applied dynamic strain of composite structures. The composites consist of fabrics composed of interwoven bare conductive carbon fibers and orthogonal carbon fibers coated with ZnO nanowires. Nanowires with diameter range between 80 and 344 nm with average length of ~5 μm are grown on carbon fibers using hydrothermal technique. X-ray diffraction results indicate that the ZnO nanowires have a hexagonal wurtzite crystal structure that is responsible for the piezoelectric form of ZnO. The functionalized fabric was subjected to mechanical deformation and revealed piezoelectric behavior with effective piezoelectric coefficient of 2-3 pC/N. The proposed hybrid fabric can serve as the structural backbone for aircraft, automobile and many other structures allowing for integrated monitoring of structural health in real time

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