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Technical textiles for structural health monitoring (Polytect)

Can geotextiles help monitor structural damage and integrity in unstable and seismic active areas?

A joint research project of 27 private companies, research institutions and universities led to the development of smart geotextiles for reinforcement, drainage and, at the same time, the possibility of monitoring the technical condition of structures.

ABOUT THE PROJECT
  • a joint research project of 27 private companies, research institutions and universities from September 2006 to October 2010
PROJECT REQUIREMENTS
  • development of an impedance health monitoring technique to monitor stresses, deformations, acceleration, water level variation, and pressure and detect the presence of fluids and chemicals
  • use of multifunctional geotextiles as load-bearing part of the building for stabilization and monitoring
  • incorporation of piezoceramics and fiber optics sensors
INITIAL STATE
  • current textile structures are too weak
  • insufficient measurement of structural health
WHAT WAS THE AIM OF THE PROJECT

The aim of the Polytect project was to develop new multifunctional technical textiles for application in constructions, specially for the retrofitting of masonry structures and earthworks. The multifunctionality of these geotextiles comprises not only reinforcement and drainage but also health monitoring of these structures. Therefore, the monitoring systems used for the evaluation of the structural integrity, planning of the maintenance works and alerting/preventing the structural damage have also been requested.

Benefits of the solution compared to conventional methods

I. DETAILED OVERVIEW oF THE tECHNICAL cONDITION OF THE BUILDING

Multifunctional geotextiles will increasingly play a part in structural integrity and safety, stabilizing and geotechnical monitoring of buildings and helping to prevent landslides after heavy rains or earthquakes.

II. Immediate notification of a crisis

Verified in a unique test simulating 0.4 gravitational acceleration of the Earth (value 0.5g corresponds to the maximum value typically observed during an earthquake) on a two-story family house.

III. Speeding up and simplifying the STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY assessment of A building

Monitoring the state of structural damage after an earthquake with different types of sensors and analytical methods allows faster and effective determination of their structural integrity. This allows life to return quickly to normality.

How did we approach the solution?

As an optical engineering company, we were co-responsible for the development of fiber optic sensors designed for integration into technical textiles to provide point and distributed measurements of mechanical and physical quantities. We also contributed to the development and manufacturing of optoelectronic devices for the fiber optic sensors and the development of devices for sensitivity testing of chemical transducers.

Why work with us?

Our company was invited to the project thanks to its professional expertise and experience with cooperation on scientific research projects. One of our specialties is the development of the most economical structural integrity monitoring solutions and providing fiber optic sensing systems matched to the client’s needs.

FBG technology is the most suitable solution where conventional procedures fail or are not viable because of routine operation.

The structural integrity monitoring systems minimize the number of false alarms by using advanced algorithms.

The structural integrity and safety system is very durable and, if installed correctly and protected from the environment, can be operated with minimal maintenance and servicing.

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