Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Implementing Sustainable Technology To Monitor The Integrity Of U.S. Bridges

Date:
April 22, 2009
Source:
University of Miami
Summary:
Researchers are implementing a self-powered monitor system for bridges that can continuously check their condition using wireless sensors that "harvest" power from structural vibration and wind energy.

Pictured here are Antonio Nanni (in the middle), with graduate students Rosella Ferraro and Felipe Mejia placing sensors along Miami's Grove Isle Bridge.
Credit: Photographer: Richard Patterson

Today, humans perform visual inspections every two years of most of the nation's older bridges. But with a scarcity of inspectors and tens of thousands of bridges, that process can be long and laborious.

While newer bridges have monitoring devices already incorporated into their design, there are thousands of bridges erected during the 1960s and '70s, when much of the nation's infrastructure was built that would benefit from such a system.

To address the issue, a team of University of Miami College of Engineering researchers are implementing a self-powered monitor system for bridges that can continuously check their condition using wireless sensors that "harvest" power from structural vibration and wind energy.

"Just as when someone goes to see a doctor and gets all sorts of tests done to see how healthy they are and how long they'll live, we're doing the same with bridges," says Antonio Nanni, professor and chair of the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering and lead investigator of the nearly $14 million project.

Nanni and his team plan to place newly developed wireless sensors—some as small as a postage stamp, others no longer than a ballpoint pen—along strategic points inside the 27-year-old Long Key Bridge, in the Florida Keys and on a Northwest 103rd Street quarter-mile steel overpass that leads into Hialeah, in Florida.

The sensors, developed by project collaborators Virginia Tech University and New Jersey-based Physical Acoustics Corporation, record all sorts of data, from vibrations and stretching to acoustic waves and echoes emitted by flaws such as cracks. Even the alkaline levels in the concrete of bridge supports are being measured.

"The beauty of this project is that the data can be shared with other researchers via a Web site," Nanni says. "We could share information with the department of transportation in the UK and show them what's happening with the Long Key Bridge here in Florida. They would see the data as we see it, in real time."

Once all the information is culled and analyzed, Nanni and his team will form a prognosis of the bridges' health, and should any defects be found, the decision on how to repair the structures will be made by the Florida Department of Transportation. Nanni, who directs a College of Engineering Industry/University Cooperative Research Center supported by the National Science Foundation and called RB2C (Repair of Building and Bridges with Composites), hasn't ruled out the possibility of suggesting how to repair any damage found.

Researchers at the University of South Carolina at Columbia also are partners in the study, monitoring a series of bridges in their state and forming diagnoses jointly with UM engineers.

The project is the second bridge health-monitoring study being undertaken by Nanni and his colleagues. With a group of students, they are also placing sensors along Miami's Grove Isle Bridge as part of a smaller, one-year study funded by the National Science Foundation RB2C.

With the Federal Highway Administration estimating that more than 70,000 of the nation's bridges are structurally deficient, the system Nanni and his team develop could be used as a national model for monitoring the structural integrity of bridges nationwide and alerting bridge owners to potential dangers.

The work,part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology – Technology Innovation Program, is a federally funded, five-year project aimed at developing a more effective system to monitor the health and predict the longevity of bridges. The joint venture is led by Physical Acoustics Corporation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Miami. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Miami. "Implementing Sustainable Technology To Monitor The Integrity Of U.S. Bridges." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090416161137.htm>.
University of Miami. (2009, April 22). Implementing Sustainable Technology To Monitor The Integrity Of U.S. Bridges. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090416161137.htm
University of Miami. "Implementing Sustainable Technology To Monitor The Integrity Of U.S. Bridges." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090416161137.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Accompanied by drumbeats, wearing costumes and carrying signs, thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Manhattan and other cities around the world on Sunday to urge policy makers to take action on climate change. (Sept. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What This MIT Sensor Could Mean For The Future Of Robotics

What This MIT Sensor Could Mean For The Future Of Robotics

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) — MIT researchers developed a light-based sensor that gives robots 100 times the sensitivity of a human finger, allowing for "unprecedented dexterity." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The MIT BioSuit could be an alternative to big, bulky traditional spacesuits, but the concept needs some work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) — Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins