One of the greatest challenges facing civil engineers in the 21st century is the stewardship of ageing infrastructure. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the networks of tunnels and pipelines that lie beneath the major cities around the world. Much of this underground infrastructure was constructed more than half a century ago and there is widespread evidence of deterioration of this old infrastructure. This European Science Foundation funded project comprises an integrated research program to evaluate and develop a prototype wireless sensor network system called the “Underground M3 system” for condition assessment and monitoring of ageing underground infrastructure. The main aim of the research is to develop a system that uses a tiered approach to monitor the degree and rate of deterioration. It is proposed that the system comprises of (1) Tier 1: Microdetection using advances in computer vision (Figure 1) and (2) Tier 2: Micro-monitoring and communication using advances in micro electro mechanical systems (Figure 2) and wireless communication. These potentially low-cost technologies will be able to reduce costs associated with end-of-life structures, which is essential to the viability of their rehabilitation, repair and reuse.
1 Jan 2008
World Forum on Smart Materials and Smart Structures Technology: Proceedings of SMSST'07, World Forum on Smart Materials and Smart Structures Technology (SMSST'07), China, 22-27 May, 2007