Purdue University Graduate School

Cole Maynard - PhD Dissertation.pdf

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Development of 3D Printing Multifunctional Materials for Structural Health Monitoring

posted on 2022-08-12, 13:17 authored by Cole M MaynardCole M Maynard

Multifunctional additive manufacturing has the immense potential of addressing present needs within structural health monitoring by enabling a new additive manufacturing paradigm that redefines what a sensor is, or what sensors should resemble. To achieve this, the properties of printed components must be precisely tailored to meet structure specific and application specific requirements. However due to the limited number of commercially available multifunctional filaments, this research investigates the in-house creation of adaptable piezoresistive multifunctional filaments and their potential within structural health monitoring applications based upon their characterized piezoresistive responses. To do so, a rigid polylactic acid based-filament and a flexible thermoplastic polyurethane based-filament were modified to impart piezoresistive properties using carbon nanofibers. The filaments were produced using different mixing techniques, nanoparticle concentrations, and optimally selected manufacturing parameters from a design of experiments approach. The resulting filaments exhibited consistent resistivity values which were found to be less variable under specific mixing techniques than commercially available multifunctional filaments. This improved consistency was found to be a key factor which held back currently available piezoresistive filaments from fulfilling needs within structural health monitoring. To demonstrate the ability to meet these needs, the piezoresistive responses of three dog-bone shaped sensor sizes were measured under monotonic and cyclic loading conditions for the optimally manufactured filaments. The characterized piezoresistive responses demonstrated high strain sensitivities under both tensile and compressive loads. These piezoresistive sensors demonstrated the greatest sensitivity in tension, where all three sensor sizes exhibited gauge factors over 30. Cyclic loading supported these results and further demonstrated the accuracy and reliability of the printed sensors within SHM applications.


Embedded Sensors and Actuators for Structural Health Monitoring using Enhanced Materials in Additive Manufacturing

United States Department of the Navy

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Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Engineering Technology

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Brittany Newell

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Jose Garcia

Additional Committee Member 2

Daniel Leon-Salas

Additional Committee Member 3

Benjamin Ducharne