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Novel sensor system would flag structural weaknesses before bridges and stadiums collapse

NJIT will be part of an international team of engineers from universities in the U.S., Canada, and Qatar developing a novel system to detect the onset of structural damage on bridges, stadiums and other large public infrastructure.

With a grant of just over $1 million from the government of Qatar, a Persian Gulf nation that has proposed building one of the longest causeways in the world, the three-member team is developing a wireless sensor network that will monitor vibrations, sagging and stresses to assess a structure’s ability to carry its load. The proposed system would not only detect damage after it occurs, but would aim to predict it before it takes place.

“Our part of this project is to determine not only where to place the sensors, but to decide what type of data the system will collect, how to interpret it, and then how to make a decision about where, when, and to what extent to intervene,” said Mohamed Mahgoub, director of NJIT’s Concrete Industry Management (CIM) program and one of the project’s principal investigators.

The system would alert bridge engineers in real-time to potentially catastrophic structural failures or weaknesses, while also guiding periodic preventive maintenance.

“While the network can be installed on existing bridges, the aim is to embed it in a structure’s steel bars before the concrete is even poured,” Mahgoub said.

via Novel sensor system would flag structural weaknesses before bridges and stadiums collapse.