Wireless Ice Detection and Monitoring using Flexible UHF RFID Tags
preprintposted on 20.07.2021, 20:31 by Mahmoud Wagih, Junjie Shi
Owing to its low relative permittivity, very few microwave sensors have been developed for monitoring ice deposition. This paper presents the first use of UHF RFID tags for wireless RF ice sensing applications. Despite its low permittivity, the existence of ice as a superstrate on a planar ultra-thin dipole antenna can lower the resonance frequency of the antenna significantly. The RFID tags, having a measured unloaded range of 9.4 m, were evaluated for remotely detecting the formation of ice in various scenarios and up to 10~m from the reader, as well as monitoring the ice thawing, based on the Relative Signal Strength (RSS) in a phase-free approach. Unlike conventional RSS-based sensing approaches where the tag's read-range is reduced as the RSS decreases in response to the stimulant, the ice superstrate improves the impedance matching of the tags, maintaining a 10 m loaded read-range with over 12 dB ice-sensitivity, in an echoic multi-path environment. The long range and high sensitivity show that UHF RFID is a promising method of detecting and monitoring ice formation and thawing in future smart cities.