SENSKIN Need and Objectives
Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) is expected to play a predominant role in the management of the transport infrastructure nowadays mainly because much of the expected growth in traffic demand will have to be accommodated on existing infrastructure with widespread signs of deterioration, while climate changes may negatively affect the infrastructure loading.
Although instruments (such as resistance strain gauges and displacement transducers) have been installed on some structures, such devices only provide measurements at discrete points, and in most devices have a limited working range. For example, resistance strain gauges can measure up to 2% strain and so are not able to provide an alarm for an imminent catastrophe.
Current SHM techniques require a dense network of such point-sensors, which is costly, if practicable. Furthermore, the technology for collecting and transferring the information from such devices cannot overcome problems of data congestion and network availability that arise during and following major incidents. Thus, current methods to assess structural stability and the rate of deterioration can overlook structural problems or fail to detect them in time to permit effective and efficient intervention works.
There is, therefore, the need to develop and test sensing devices capable of measuring strains in a surface area (as opposed to discrete points) as well as a reliable communication system that will ensure a robust and reliable delivery of data between sensing nodes and base station. The SENSKIN project, among others, aims to achieve these.