Smart Structures

by Rita Robison, Civil Engineering magazine, ASCE, 345 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1992, Vol. 62, Issue 11, Pg. 66-68

Document Type: Feature article


Detecting cracks in concrete before they become visible could help prevent structural collapse of buildings and other civil works, say professors at three schools of engineering. The University of Vermont has established the Institute for Intelligent Structural Systems, where researchers have completed installation of the first fiber optic instrumentation of an actual building. They embedded a fiber optic network in the walls and floors of a five-story, 65,000 sq ft laboratory building during its construction on campus, terminating the fibers in sensor boxes connected to a central microcomputer for data logging. They have also installed a similar system in the base of a new hydropower plant under construction nearby. At the New Jersey Institute of Technology, tests have been made with a fiber optic sensor that measures intensity modulations in a multimode fiber. Bench tests have been done with plain and fiber reinforced concrete beam specimens, with data analyzed by a microcomputer. At the University of Buffalo, researchers are concerned with analysis by pattern recognition via neural network computer models.They are also investigating extra-numerical structural analysis.

Subject Headings: Fabrics | Fiber reinforced concrete | Smart buildings | Construction management | Probe instruments | Computer networks | Hydro power | Concrete beams

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