Emerging Technologies to Standardize Structural Health Monitoring System
Growing infrastructure development and availability of low-cost sensors is driving the demand for structural health monitoring system. The rise in adoption of distributed optic fiber and increasing focus on low-cost energy harvesting monitoring systems are also some of the key trends in structural health monitoring. There has been a growth in demand for Fiber Bragg Granting (FBG) sensors as it can be easily embedded into materials to provide internal strain field mapping or damage detection. Other sensors being used are piezoelectric sensors which offer active sensing technology based on elastic wave and another is self-diagnosing fiber reinforced composites, this contains conductive powder or carbon fiber in cement or polymer, giving the structure an ability to monitor its own damage and strain. It works as both structural and sensing material.
According to the report by Future Market Insights (FMI), the global structural health monitoring market is anticipated to reach $5,771.5 million value by the end of 2026. The market is expected to register 13.8% CAGR between 2016 and 2026. The government in various countries are taking initiatives towards public safety, hence structural health monitoring systems are being standardized. While North America is expected to dominate structural health monitoring market. Moreover, in terms of application, the structural health monitoring system will be used by bridges and dams on a large scale.
Introduction of new technologies to boost the demand for structural health monitoring system
Sensing and measurement techniques are being introduced in structural health monitoring. Moreover, technologies that capture and provide real-time data are also being developed. Key technologies being used in structural health monitoring are multimodal sensor systems and another is distributed measurement systems which are being developed to monitor real-time structural performance data that can help in long-term maintenance of buildings, bridges and large structures.
With everything becoming smart, companies are also moving towards developing smart solutions for structural health monitoring. For instance, the research team at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has developed a breed of nanocomposites-inspired sensors which can be directly sprayed on the curved or flat surface like airplane structures, rail tracks, etc. The sprayed sensor can provide a real-time information regarding the health status of the structure.
The nanocomposite sensors use the innovative technique of fabrication which makes it easy to install sensors and is more efficient compared to conventional method. Moreover, these sensors can be fabricated in large quantities to form a dense network at much lower cost. The technology uses ultrasound actuator that emits Guided Ultrasonic Waves (GUWs) that is received and measured by the sensors. The damage can be detected based on wave scattering.
Moving structural health monitoring system towards preventive model
Research is being carried out by the team of researchers from the University of Strathclyde and the National Physical Laboratory to move structural monitoring system towards the preventive model. The researchers are working to implement a method that can sense the problem before it occurs. This will prevent accidents, ensure safety and will also help in improving and providing timely maintenance.
However, Smart Materials and Structures, a journal covering technical advances published a research which shows that analysis of strain data can provide an early indication of cracking and structural transition. As well as provide early warning of the cracks appearing in the structure.