Integrated Health Monitoring and Reinforcement of Transportation Structures with Optimized Low-Cost Multifunctional Braided Cables
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Shape memory alloy (SMAs) can produce large recoverable deformations triggered by stress in a response known as superelasticity. This response has been shown to limit the damage sustained by the structure from an adverse event such as earthquakes, and have been considered in a range of civil engineering applications. Through a combined approach of structural optimization and materials design, this research aims at simultaneously achieving advantageous mechanical properties and self-monitoring capabilities in a single material for transportation structures. Therefore, the objective of this collaborative research is to design, fabricate, and characterize multifunctional high strength and self-sensing braided cables structures using novel iron-based SMAs. The system will exploit unique properties of recently developed low-cost superelastic FeMnAlNi SMAs, which enables excellent superelastic properties, high strength, and self-sensing in structural health monitoring. At the conclusion of the technical portion of the project, the researchers are expected to demonstrate a braided iron-based SMA cable capable of sustaining higher stress and greater elongation before yielding than conventional high strength steel cables of an identical geometry. For the implementation phase of the project, the authors will show that the strain in the braided Fe-SMA cable directly correlates with changes in its magnetic response, and can be converted into structural deflections using simple instruments. Additionally, the project will define a viable path for technology transfer by establishing substantive partnerships with commercial alloy manufacturers, and cultivate the awareness and expertise in the technology through workforce development and outreach activities.