Project to improve infrastructure monitoring

The University of Sheffield has been awarded £7.7m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to improve the monitoring of UK infrastructure.

This includes bridges, telecommunications masts and wind turbines, the university said.

“Healthy infrastructure is critical to ensuring the continued functionality and growth of UK society and the economy,” said a press release. “Unfortunately, monitoring and maintaining our buildings and transport network is expensive; in the UK, a backlog of maintenance works, identified in 2019, will cost £6.7 bn.”

Plans are for a university team to research using sensors to continuously collect structural data and interprete it via computer algorithms, rather than rely on in person visual inspections, which cannot be carried out so easily.  

“Population-based structural health monitoring (PBSHM) is a game-changing idea, emerging in the UK very recently,” said Professor Keith Worden from the University of Sheffield’s department of mechanical engineering. It has the potential to overcome current technological barriers and transform our ability to automatically infer the condition of a structure, or a network of structures, from sensor data.”