Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Constantine Tarawneh

Second Advisor

Dr. Heinrich Foltz

Third Advisor

Dr. Junfei Li


The purpose of this project is to explore applications of magnetostrictive materials for real-time monitoring of railroad suspension components, in particular bearings. Monitoring of such components typically requires the tracking of temperature vibration and load. In addition, real-time, long-term monitoring can be greatly facilitated through the use of wireless, self-powered sensors. Magnetostrictive materials, such as Terfenol-D, have the potential to address both requirements. Currently, piezoelectrics are used for many load and energy harvesting applications; however, they are fragile and are difficult to use for static load measurements. Magnetostrictive metals are tougher, and their property of variable permeability when stressed can be utilized to measure static loads. A prototype load sensor was successfully fabricated and characterized yielding less than 10% error under normal operating conditions. Energy harvesting experiments generated a little over 80 mW of power, which is sufficient to run low-power condition monitoring systems.


Copyright 2014 Raul Estrada. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American