Date of Award

December 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Konstantin Sobolev

Committee Members

Habibollah Tabatabai, Ismael Flores


Carbon Nanofiber, Carbon Nantube, Concrete, Nondestructive Testing, Polyvinyl Alcohol Fibers, Self-Sensing


Fiber reinforced composites (FRC) with polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) fibers and carbon nanofibers (CNF) had an excellent flexural strength in excess of 18.5 MPa compared to reference samples of 15.8 MPa. It was found that the developed, depending on applied stress and exposure to chloride solutions, composites exhibit some electrical conductivity, from 4.20x10^-4 (ohm*m)^-1 to. 4.13x10^-4 (ohm*m)^-1. These dependences can be characterized by piezioresistive and chemoresistive coefficients demonstrating that the material possesses self-sensing capabilities. The sensitivity to stain and chloride solutions can be enhanced by incorporating small amounts of carbon nanofibers (CNF) or carbon nanotube (CNT) into composite structure. Conducted research has demonstrated a strong dependency of electrical properties of composite on crack formation in moist environments. The developed procedure is scalable for industrial application in concrete structures that require nondestructive stress monitoring, integrity under high service loads and stability in harsh environments.