Infrastructure makes up the arteries of modern society, providing people, organisations with all necessities – from utilities to housing and transport. However, its maintainance can be difficult. While non-destructive evaluation is the process currently being used, it is disruptive to infrastructure. An interesting possibility is to use condition-based structural health monitoring (SHM) with sensors. However, these sensors currently provide local information making it inefficient for the size and complexity of infrastructure.
The EU-funded USES2 project aims to develop an alternative by bringing together new sensor technologies, improved processing tools and full-mechanical-waveform-based imaging, as well, as training researchers to efficiently utilise these tools. This will allow for efficient larger-scale infrastructure structural health monitoring, essential for their everyday use.
Detecting degradation that endangers the safety and impairs availability of infrastructure and components is currently the task of schedule-driven Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE), this process is however costly and disruptive. The attractive alternative is to use condition based Structural Health Monitoring (SHM).
Current, SHM typically uses sensors that provide local information only, which may be insufficient for detecting interior degradation or require very dense networks. Furthermore, the performance of both in-situ sensing systems and algorithms to process and interpret the sensor data is reduced when subject to Environmental and Operational Conditions (EOC). This limits their large-scale deployment.
USES2 will develop and combine novel emerging sensing technologies (optical fibre and wireless pieozoelectric sensors), advanced processing (compressed sensing, artificial intelligence) and full-mechanical-waveform-based imaging to tackle these issues.
Key to this cross-disciplinary work is a new generation of researchers with skills across sensing and signal processing. They will be trained with a unique combination of “hands-on” multidisciplinary research demonstrators, industrial placements, and courses /workshops on scientific and transferable skills. All of which is facilitated by the broad intersectoral composition of the consortium.
USES2 will produce world class researchers expert in innovative sensing solutions, advanced mechanical wave processing and robust EOC compensation methods. Their skills will be embodied in a series of laboratory demonstrators and in situ industrially relevant experiments spanning three key sectors of European industry: energy [power plants (nuclear, wind), hydrogen storage, pipeline networks for fuel exploration and transport], mobility for citizens (aircraft, automotive industry) and construction (urban subsurface soil, infrastructures).