Signal loss, spatial resolution, and sensitivity of long coaxial crack sensors

Shishuang Sun*, David Pommerenke, James L. Drewniak, Genda Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Configuration-based coaxial cable sensors have recently been developed to detect cracks in reinforced concrete (RC) structures. These sensors have shown a high sensitivity when applied to several short RC flexural members. However, the signal losses resulting from a long cable sensor may distort the initial waveform of the electromagnetic wave propagating along the cable, thereby compromising the spatial resolution and sensitivity of this sensor. The signal losses consist of the contributions from the skin effect of conductors, energy absorption in the dielectric material, and impedance mismatch loss due to multiple signal reflections resulting from discontinuities caused by the separation between the adjacent spirals, which acts as the outer conductor of a cable sensor. This paper summarizes the basic physics of signal losses in cable sensors, and investigates the impact of the signal losses on the spatial resolution and sensitivity of a cable sensor over distance. Several methods are proposed to simulate and quantify various factors affecting the signal losses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)786-797
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes
EventSmart Structures and Materials 2004 - Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 15 Mar 200418 Mar 2004


  • Dielectric loss
  • Multiple signal reflections
  • Sensitivity
  • Signal loss
  • Skin effect
  • Spatial resolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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