Microtech 2011

Monitoring and Assessing the Structural Integrity of Infrastructure Systems using Next-Generation Sensor Technologies (invited presentation)

J.P. Lynch
University of Michigan, US

Keywords: MEMS


The long-term deterioration of large-scale infrastructure systems is a critical national problem that if left unchecked, could lead to catastrophic structural failures similar in magnitude to the collapse of the I-35W Bridge (Minneapolis 2007). Structural health monitoring (SHM) systems have been proposed for automated detection and quantification of structural degradation in an affordable and real-time manner. Fortunately, the past decade has witnessed the emergence of many new sensing and information technologies that have the potential to radically transform current SHM system paradigms. This presentation provides a detailed overview of an emerging set of wireless and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sensor technologies under development at the University of Michigan in the Wireless Integrated Microsystems (WIMS) Institute. Specifically, low-power wireless sensor nodes designed for dense deployment in infrastructure systems will be described in detail. To power these unattended wireless sensors for long periods of time, power harvesters fabricated using MEMS processes are being developed. Furthermore, embedded data processing is currently under exploration to leverage the distributed computational intelligence of the wireless sensor network to create a scalable data management solution for system end-users. To showcase the integrated wireless monitoring system, field validation studies on the New Carquinez Suspension Bridge (Vallejo, CA) will be presented in detail.

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