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  1. null (Ed.)
    Structural health monitoring of fiber reinforced composites is an extensive field of research that aims to reduce maintenance costs through in-situ damage detection. However, the need for externally bonded sensor systems and complicated fabrication processes limit the widespread application of most current structural health monitoring techniques. This work introduces a novel multifunctional fiber reinforced composite that relies on a ferroelectric prepreg fabricated using dehydrofluorinated (DHF) polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), which exhibits a thermally stable piezoelectric response. The self-sensing material presented in this work requires minimal external components, as the piezoelectric sensing mechanism is fully contained within the composite. This is accomplished by fabricating a ferroelectric prepreg consisting of DHF PVDF infused woven fiberglass, which is sandwiched between woven carbon fabric layers that act as electrodes, thus forming a piezoelectric sensor fabricated with entirely structural composite materials. Notably, the sensing material is a fully distributed prepreg rather than discretely embedded sensors which enables simplified monitoring of complex structures. As the composite experiences damage under flexural and tensile loading, the internal change in strain results in a charge separation that is detectable as a voltage emission across the sample electrodes. The self-sensing capabilities of this material are explored using traditional mechanical testing techniques, showing comparable performance to common damage detection methods, all while eliminating the need for external bonding of sensors to the structure. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    The continuous monitoring of strain in fiber-reinforced composites while in service typically requires bonding a network of sensors to the surface of the composite structure. To eliminate such needs, and to reduce bulk and limit additional weight, this work utilizes the transfer printing of laser induced graphene (LIG) strain gauges onto the surface of commercial fiberglass prepreg for the in situ self-sensing of strain. The resultant embedded strain sensor is entirely integrated within the final composite material, therefore reducing weight and eliminating limitations due to external bonding compared to current alternatives. Additionally, the simple printing process used here allows for the customization of the size and sensing requirements for various applications. The LIG strain sensor is shown to be capable of tracking monotonic cyclic strain as shown during tensile loading and unloading of the host composite, while also proving capable of tracking the dynamic motion of the composite which is characterized via frequency response and sinusoidal base excitation. The LIG strain gauge in this work can thus be used for tracking either quasi-static or dynamic variations in strain for the determination of the deformation experienced by the material, as well as the frequency content of the material for structural health monitoring purposes. 
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