Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Sensor "Memory" System: Faster, More Precise Damage Assessment


A new sensor system being developed at the University of Missouri-Rolla may help get rescue personnel to the scene faster the next time a tornado or terrorist damages a bridge or other structure because of its ability to “memorize” the location of the damage.

Unlike all other infrastructure-embedded sensors, which reset following the disaster, the distributed cable sensors under development at UMR could “memorize” the most severe damage that occurred during a prior catastrophic event, allowing for an immediate assessment of the structure’s performance and integrity.

“This is critical to making a rapid decision for emergency responses and evaluations immediately following the catastrophic event,” says Dr. Genda Chen, associate professor of civil engineering at UMR. “The current practice requires sending an engineer inspector to every bridge along the emergency vehicle route to get into the striking area to rescue people. In the future, you could use a hand-held piece of equipment to detect whether there’s damage or not. We can detect the location and severity of damage areas within two inches.”

The same distributed sensor system can also find cracks and other damage not seen during visual inspection, Chen says. “The problem with visual inspections is that many of this damage in columns can’t be seen after the earthquake or disaster is over,” Chen explains. “Cracks on the columns are typically closed immediately after an earthquake due to gravity loads. You won’t be able to see them with your eyes – but this sensor can pick them up.”

The distributed sensor system could provide a more accurate damage assessment, Chen says. For example, when the 1994 Northridge earthquake shook residents of the Los Angeles area, it also caused widespread damage to sections of major freeways, parking structures and office buildings. However, a visual inspection found some areas did not appear to be affected by the strong seismic movements.

“Most of the steel-beam column weld areas were cracked severely,” Chen says. “But you couldn’t see that from the outside because those areas had a fireproof cover and architecture covering the bare steel material. People didn’t know about the cracks until after inspection, when they opened up the structure joint. They had to open up every structure since then.”

Researchers tested a prototype cable sensor on a fifth-scale reinforced-concrete column inside a three-story high-bay structures laboratory on campus before installing the system in a Missouri bridge in fall 2003. Made from a Teflon-insulated copper wire surrounded by a solder-coated steel spiral layer, the cable sensor can be embedded in lengths of up to 100 feet.

Working with Chen on the project are Dr. David Pommerenke, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at UMR, and Dr. James Drewniak, director of the UMR Materials Research Center and a professor of electrical and computer engineering. The team has received $240,000 over a period of three years from the National Science Foundation to support the research.

Based on the research team’s success, the New York Department of Transportation has asked the group to develop a pressure sensor that can monitor how much load a bridge bearing can carry.

In addition, the California Department of Transportation would like the team to use the sensor system to measure the performance of piles. “With this system, they could tell what’s going on underneath the ground – where you can’t see anything,” Chen adds.

Chen and his research team are also looking to develop a way to network the cable sensors for use in buildings.

| newswise
Further information:

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>