Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Feeling the earth move

23.03.2007
Some types of underlying geology make soil liable to subside, especially (but not exclusively) where there are underground mines. Cavities between the rocks can eventually extend to the surface, causing structural damage to buildings, roads and railways.

EUREKA project E! 2579 GEODETECT has developed an effective and totally novel product for detecting soil subsidence – vital for avoiding costly damage to buildings and infrastructures. Since its development the product has been installed in parts of the French railway system and also around the world in key supporting structures such as bridges and embankments.

Existing monitoring systems for subsidence depend on visual inspection; but by the time visual assessment can be made, the damage is well advanced and repair is costly. Subsidence is a particular problem for railways, where even a few millimetres’ change in track level could have disastrous results, particularly for the coming European high-speed rail network. Damage repair or alternative structural solutions, like building reinforced bridges at critical locations liable to subsidence, both present very high costs.

High-strength matting

The GEODETECT project set out to add a sensory system to an existing material called geotextile. This is a non-woven, fibrous matting made of high-strength polypropylene fibres, reinforced with high-strength polyester yarns. With its high mechanical strength, resistance to mechanical and chemical damage and long life, the geotextile matting was already used without sensors as the foundation for roadbuilding, where it reinforces the soil beneath the gravel layers and gives it added strength. Dr Alain Nancey of project partner Bidim Geosynthetics explains: “Adding sensors linked by optical fibres into the geotextile enables hundreds of them to be installed quickly into the ground, in a critical area where there is risk of collapse. If a cavity appears in the soil under the geotextile, the resulting lengthening of the fibre in the matting will be detected by the sensors and be relayed to the monitoring system. In the case of a railway, for example, the affected track section can then be isolated and repaired quickly before real damage is done.”

The two partners involved in the project were Bidim Geosynthetics from France (now part of Tencate Geosynthetics), and IDFOS (now FOS&S) from Belgium which had already been involved in monitoring the structural soundness of buildings and bridges.

The GEODETECT product has been of great interest to the French national railway company SNCF, and has already been put into use in a section of railway line in mid-France. The project has also led to the development of small geodetect strips, in contrast to the original 5-metre-wide rolls, which can be inserted into built structures like retaining walls, dams and embankment reinforcements. These have been used in about 15 critical locations throughout the world. Further opportunities are opening for the large-scale matting, particularly with the building or conversion of railways to take high-speed trains.

Sally Horspool | alfa
Further information:
http://www.eureka.be/geodetect

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Devils Hole: Ancient Traces of Climate History
24.05.2017 | Universität Innsbruck

nachricht Supercomputing helps researchers understand Earth's interior
23.05.2017 | University of Illinois College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>