How does the research and development at Sentea make public infrastructure safer and more sustainable?
Over the last few years there has been a growing concern about the safety of aging infrastructure in the western world. Recent events, such as the unfortunate collapse of the Morandi bridge in Genoa, remind us of the risks of aging infrastructure. A recent news article reported that one in five bridges in Belgium is in poor condition (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/2020/05/05/kaart-bruggen), and this is probably also true for most European countries. Furthermore, there have been several reports of cracks in reactors of European nuclear plants, illustrating that this concern does not only apply to bridges.
The research and development done at Sentea into fiber optic sensors for structural health monitoring will contribute to addressing these concerns. For example, the new bridge in Genoa will be equipped with fiber sensors to continuously monitor its integrity. By installing fiber sensors all over the bridge, even the smallest cracks or defects can be detected early on and repaired before they can lead to catastrophic failure.
Fiber sensors are resistant to all weather conditions and corrosion, and measurement results are extremely stable over time. This allows for measurement data gathered over the course of many years to be accurately compared and correlated so even the smallest indicators of structural damage can be identified.
Furthermore, the embedded fiber sensors also allow to continuously monitor the load on the bridge as heavy traffic passes over it. By avoiding structural overload, the lifetime of the bridge can be extended substantially. Fiber sensors can of course also be installed on any other infrastructure, thereby making tunnels, dams, buildings, industrial assets, wind turbines and even nuclear plants safer and more durable.
More information on Sentea and the applications of fiber optic sensors is available at http://www.senteatech.com.