Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Study: Wireless sensors limit earthquake damage

An earthquake engineer at Washington University in St. Louis has successfully performed the first test of wireless sensors in the simulated structural control of a model laboratory building.

Shirley J. Dyke, Ph.D., the Edward C. Dicke Professor of Civil Engineering and director of the Washington University Structural Control and Earthquake Engineering Laboratory, combined the wireless sensors with special controls called magnetorheological dampers to limit damage from a simulated earthquake load.

Her demonstration is the first step toward implementing wireless sensors for structural control in real buildings and structures, enabling less manpower requirements and far less remodeling of existing structures.

"This (wireless) is where structural control technology is going," said Dyke. "If you put a wired system in a building, the cost can be prohibitive. Soon, wireless sensors will become even cheaper, making this a nice application. It will be much easier putting wireless sensors into a building compared with taking walls out and installing wires and cables."

Dyke and her colleagues recently published their results in the Proceedings of the 4th China-Japan-U.S. Symposium on Structural Control and Monitoring, Oct. 16-17, 2006. The work was funded by the National Science Foundation, Pfizer Inc. and Solutia Inc.

The wireless sensors, about a square inch in size, are attached to the sides of buildings to monitor the force of sway when shaking, similar to an earthquake, occurs.

The sensors are then transmitted to a computer program that translates the random units read by the sensors into units useful for the engineers and computer programmers.

The computer sends a message to magnetorheological dampers, or MR dampers, that are within the building's structure to dampen the effect of the swaying on the structure.

Filled with a fluid that includes suspended iron particles, the MR dampers lessen the shaking by becoming solid when an electrical current (turned on by the computer, which has been alerted to the swaying by the sensors) is run through the MR dampers, aligning all of the iron particles.

Dyke was the first civil engineer to demonstrate the use of MR damper technology for structural health monitoring and protection of buildings during seismic movement.

She estimates that approximately 50 structures in Japan used wired sensors for structural control, with most of these structures using what is called a variable orifice damper. She said that both Japan and China feature one MR-damper controlled structure.

Dyke said now that it's been shown that wireless sensors will work in a laboratory setting, the next step is to test them on a larger building in a bigger laboratory.

"What we've learned from this implementation is going to allow us to extend to other concepts," Dyke said. "We can put sensors on for one application, such as control, and also have them do another function, such as damage detection. That way the wireless sensors can facilitate integration of multiple technologies."

Tony Fitzpatrick | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>