News - First SENSKIN Workshop covers much essential ground

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Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories

First SENSKIN Workshop covers much essential ground

1st SENSKIN Workshop, Monitoring Systems for Resilient and Sustainable Bridges, held on 8th November 2017 in Brussels


 In a lively and fruitful discussion, around 40 participants from different countries provided valuable input to the work of the project. The aim of this first workshop was to analyse the functional and operational requirements of the SENSKIN system based on the needs of bridge owners and operators, as well as the methodology of the SENSKIN monitoring system. To facilitate and enhance knowledge exchange between practitioners in the field of structural health monitoring (SHM), a number of monitoring systems already being used as well as those currently being developed were presented. A short overview of the five sessions of the workshop is as follows:

 Session 1: Setting the Scene

 The participants were welcomed by Adewole Adesiyun from FEHRL who gave a brief overview and aim of the workshop. Sergio Escriba, SENSKIN Project Officer from the EC/INEA gave an opening speech describing the expectations for SENSKIN. He was followed by Konstantinos Loupos, Project Manager from ICCS who gave an overview to the background of the project, the objectives, the project status and achievements so far, the upcoming steps and the expected impact of the project. The keynote speech speech by Joan Ramon Casas of the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC-BarcelonaTech) was entitled "Latest trends in Structural Health Monitoring". The presentation described monitoring practices in the past with the current trend in structural health monitoring (table 6). Concrete examples of structure monitoring in both periods were shown. 

Comparison between monitoring practices in the past and latest trend

Monitoring in the past

Latest trend

discrete sensors

distributed sensors and sensor networks

limited volume of data

huge volume of data: remote and wireless communication

data recording on site

big data processing

· data driven methods

· pattern recognition: outlier detection

· neural networks

· generic algorithms

manual or semi-automatic post-processing in the office

dynamic SHM: vibration parameters

dynamic SHM: modal methods

observability techniques

Session 2: Bridge Monitoring Systems – Users’ Needs and Challenges

Moderated by Konstantinos Loupos, this session started with a GoToMeeting presentation by Panagiotis Panetsos of Egnatia Motorway, Greece. In his presentation, Structural Health Monitoring of Egnatia Odos bridges, he gave a breakdown of the bridge structures of Egnatia Motorway which connects three TEN-T corridors. He also gave a general structure of the Bridge Capital Maintenance System of EGNATIA ODOS S.A. (Ε_ΒΜS) which includes: visual inspection, catastrophic/non-catastrophic tests, instrumental inspection/monitoring (SHM).He gave examples of how and where the ambient vibration /strain /displacement /temperature monitoring of the construction phases as well as of the operation period of many bridges are carried out.

The second presentation was given by Şengül Kaya from KGM Turkey, one of the two end-users in the project. She gave details of the bridges that spans the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul; the Bosphorus Bridge, the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge. She then explained the structural health monitoring that has been installed on these bridges with emphasis on the Bosphorus Bridge (which will be instrumented with the SENSKIN sensors).

The last presentation, given by Piotr Olaszak from IBDiM Poland, was entitled “Bridge Deflection Monitoring Systems – The application of inertial sensors”. He explained the monitoring of displacement under static loads and dynamic loads with examples of their applications on bridges in Poland. 

Session 3: The SENSKIN Monitoring System

 In this session, the SENSKIN Consortium project members described the progress made in the project so far, starting with an overview of the Prototype of Sensing Elements by Dmitry Rychkov of the University of Potsdam, Germany. He explained the design and manufacture of the sensor and the measurements conducted so far on it. He also presented the DAQ (Data acquisition module) which is part of the sensor NODE situated between the sensing element and the microcontroller for signal pre-processing and communication control.

The second presentation, SENSKIN Integrated Monitoring System, was given by Konstantinos Loupos. He presented and described the modules/sub-systems that constitute the SENSKIN system:

  • Polymer Sensor (the SENSKIN sensor)

  • Data Acquisition (DAQ)

  • SENSKIN Node (Communication System, Energy harvesting module & Solar Panel, PCB, Casing, Interfaces)

  • Conventional Monitoring System

  • Gateway

  • Decision Support System (User interface and control, Structural Assessment Modules, Rehabilitation Planning (LCA/LCC modules)).

 Peter Jones’ (TRL UK), presentation, Laboratory Tests on Prototypes, focused on the various laboratory tests conducted on the sensors (tensile tests – steel and concrete samples and flexural tests – precast concrete beam). He explained among others, the procedures for installing the sensors and the measurement of flexural, shear and torsional strain.

The fourth presentation, The Structural Assessment Modules, was given by Sanna Corrado of TECNIC SA in Italy. He explained the objectives of the structural modulus which includes the development of a methodology for the assessment of the structural conditions of the monitored bridge based on the measurements of skin-like strain sensors. Among others he explained how the SENSKIN project will work towards the identification of the best locations for sensors.

The last presentation was given by Panagiotis Panetsos, The Evaluation and Benchmarking of the SENSKIN system. He explained the objective of the work which is to field evaluate and benchmark the SENSKIN monitoring system and integrated package on two actual and in-service bridges. He described the process of installing the SENSKIN monitoring system on the Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul and on the Egnatia G4 Ravine Bridge in Greece.

Session 4: Monitoring Systems of Civil Infrastructure

 In order to facilitate and enhance knowledge exchange a number of other monitoring systems were presented in this session.

The first system, Acoustic Emission for Structural Health Monitoring, was presented by Jon Watson and Nassos Anastasopoulos of Mistras Group Hellas (MGH). They explained the basic principles behind Acoustic Emission and noted that the system can be used for direct assessment of Structural Risk and Reliability for various conditions. They highlighted the fact that Acoustics Emission can deliver clear, accurate information from monitoring that helps engineers to increase structural safety, assess condition of materials and structure etc.

The second presentation, Damage Identification in Bridges Through Dynamic Monitoring, was part of the work being done in the framework of the SHAPE project ((The Predicting strength changes in bridges from frequency data safety, hazard, and poly-harmonic evaluation), which is financed through the ERA-NET Plus INFRAVATION programme. The presenter explained that the SHAPE device is designed to provide a permanent monitoring system on bridges to warn of strikes from barges and trucks. The device is designed to be attached to a bridge in order to monitor the vibration of the bridge with time.

The third system, Aerial Robotic System for In-Depth Bridge Inspection by Contact (AEROBI), was presented by Adewole Adesiyun from FEHRL. The work is part of the AEROBI project (H2020 project). The system adapts and integrates recent research results in aerial manipulators, intelligent control in robotics, computer vision and sensing, in an innovative, integrated, aerial robotic system with a specialised multi-joint arm that will scan concrete beams and piers in a bridge for potential cracks on the surface or concrete swelling or spalling.

The last presentation was entitled Safety of Transport Infrastructure on the TEN-T Network. The presenter, Lorcan Connolly of ROD, gave an overview, among others, of the SAFE 10T project, which is developing a Safety Framework to ensure high safety performance while allowing longer life-cycles for critical infrastructure across the road, rail and inland waterway modes. The Safety framework will incorporate remote monitoring data stored in a BIM model that feeds into a decision support framework (DST) that enables decisions to be made automatically with maintenance prioritised for elements exhibiting stress.

Session 5: Panel Discussion

This session wrapped up the whole meeting. Some of the issues/questions raised include:

    • Even though quite a number of different complex monitoring systems were presented at the workshop, we need to remind ourselves that the end-users’ requirement are very simple. We should therefore be careful not to propose too complicated systems.
    • End-users, not only require simple systems, they are also in need of tools to correctly interpret the enormous data they receive from the systems.
    • Most of the end-users were impressed by the results and see the high-potential of the system application. Would be interested to see even larger sites being monitored.
    • It is clear that we cannot instrument all bridges. The question is while we are currently monitoring long and strategic bridges, what do we do with the simple ones. How do we monitor them? Or maybe it is enough to continue with visual inspections for these bridges.
    • Need to connect data with strain capabilities and actual resolution of the results.

The Project Coordinator thanked the participants for their presence and closed the workshop. Presentations can be found here, biographies here and photos here.


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