Tampere University of Technology

TUTCRIS Research Portal

Passive wireless antenna sensor for strain and crack sensing - Electromagnetic modeling, simulation, and testing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Article number085009
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


This research investigates a passive wireless antenna sensor designed for strain and crack sensing. When the antenna experiences deformation, the antenna shape changes, causing a shift in the electromagnetic resonance frequency of the antenna. A radio frequency identification (RFID) chip is adopted for antenna signal modulation, so that a wireless reader can easily distinguish the backscattered sensor signal from unwanted environmental reflections. The RFID chip captures its operating power from an interrogation electromagnetic wave emitted by the reader, which allows the antenna sensor to be passive (battery-free). This paper first reports the latest simulation results on radiation patterns, surface current density, and electromagnetic field distribution. The simulation results are followed with experimental results on the strain and crack sensing performance of the antenna sensor. Tensile tests show that the wireless antenna sensor can detect small strain changes lower than 20 με, and can perform well at large strains higher than 10 000 με. With a high-gain reader antenna, the wireless interrogation distance can be increased up to 2.1 m. Furthermore, an array of antenna sensors is capable of measuring the strain distribution in close proximity. During emulated crack and fatigue crack tests, the antenna sensor is able to detect the growth of a small crack.