SENSING RAIL SYSTEM WITH PIEZOELECTRIC ELEMENTS

Abstract

This paper deals with piezoelectric strain measurement for rail monitoring applications. Piezoelectric materials under mechanical load generate electric charge and thus provide active voltage response. Mechanical parts with piezoelectric sensing layers could provide electrical signal which is proportional with mechanical loads and vibration. Presented piezoelectric system in the form of a macro fiber composite (MFC) or polymer polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) could be used for monitoring applications. A lab application shows the potential of these sensors and the piezoelectric response is compared with the strain gauge measurement. A real application on a regional track is proposed and the piezoelectric patch is integrated on the rail. Analysis of the obtained voltage signal is compared with the traditional acceleration analysis. Proposed solution provides an affordable sensing system which could monitor and detect system wear or maximal deformation under operation.

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