Preparation and Application of Film Sensor for Metal Structure Crack Monitoring

  • Bo HOU
  • Yuting HE
  • Ronghong CUI
  • Teng ZHANG
Keywords: crack monitoring, Ti/TiN film, electrical potential method, vacuum ion plating, metal structure


A crack monitoring technique is desired to ensure the safety and reliability of metallic structures. In the present study, a conductive film sensor was presented to monitor structural cracks in metal structures in real-time based on the electrical potential method. First, a Ti/TiN film sensor was prepared on the fatigue critical portion of a 2A12-T4 aluminum alloy specimen by vacuum ion plating technology, which allows firm integration with the metal surface. A finite element model (FEM) of the Ti/TiN film sensor was then constructed and the changes in the output of the sensor along with corresponding changes in crack propagation were discussed. The results indicated that the Ti/TiN film sensor has high sensitivity to cracks and it is feasible to monitor structural surface cracks using the sensor. Finally, crack monitoring experiments were carried out based on the Ti/TiN film sensor. Experimental results showed that the output potential curve of the Ti/TiN film sensor contained several regions, which corresponded to plastic deformation accumulation, crack propagation, and sensor failure, respectively. Therefore, the information on the origination and propagation of structural cracks can be gained through analyzing changes in slope of the output potential values of the Ti/TiN film sensor with respect to time.