The piezoresistive effect in conductive nanofiller-modified polymer, cementitious, and ceramic composites has immense potential to enable multifunctional properties such as intrinsic self-sensing. To date, much work has been done to study the piezoresistive effect under quasi-static loading. Some work has also been done to study the piezoresistive effect under cyclic loading such as when a piezoresistive patch is adhered directly to an oscillating substrate. However, little-to-no work has been done with regard to general dynamic loading conditions such as strain waves originating from a remote source. This is an important gap in the state of the art for two reasons: One, coupling the self-sensing nature of nanocomposites with general elastodynamics is a possible pathway to enabling the study of full-field dynamics (i.e. using the piezoresistive effect to study internal dynamics as opposed to just surface measurements available via tools such as accelerometers and laser vibrometry). And two, coupling piezoresistive self-sensing with damage detection via vibratory methods could lead to transformative gains in the areas of structural health monitoring (SHM) and nondestructive evaluation (NDE). Therefore, we herein work towards addressing this gap in the state of the art by developing basic knowledge on the relation between elastic strain waves and piezoresistive response. Specifically, an electromagnetic-piezoelectric shaker is used to inject highly-controlled strain waves into a long and slender carbon nanofiber (CNF)-modified epoxy rod. Resistance changes along the length of the rod are then measured as strain waves travel along the length of the rod. It is shown that the measured resistance response closely matches the applied mechanical loading. Results from this preliminary study suggest the establishment of an exciting new field — piezoresistive elastodynamics.

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