Advanced sensors used in testing at Cornell University

The future looks “smart” for underground infrastructure after a first-of-its-kind experiment using several advanced sensors developed by researchers from the group of Kenichi Soga, Chancellor’s Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Tzu-Hsuan Lin deployed a newly developed underground wireless sensor network system that detects water leakage, whereas Linqing Luo and Dr. Amr Ewais installed a distributed fiber optic stain sensor system to measure pipeline deformation by fault movement in collaboration with Dr. Xiaomin Xu, Peter Knott and Dr. CedricKechavarzi of the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction, Cambridge University, UK. The experiment was conducted by the group of Professor Tom O’Rourke at Cornell University.

The sensors – which can collectively measure strain, temperature, movement and leakage – were installed along a 40-foot section of a hazard-resilient pipeline buried in large hydraulic box designed to simulate earthquakes.

The test was the first use of the advanced sensors for the purpose of monitoring buried infrastructure, and gave an unprecedented look at the pipeline’s ability to elongate and bend while being subject to ground failure.

“The vision we have is that our future infrastructure looks after itself by sensing and adapting to the changing environment,” said Soga. “Rapidly developing sensor technologies and data analytics give us the opportunity to make this happen.”