Professor Amr M. Baz





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A joint research team led by two structural engineering professors – Drs. Chung C. Fu and Yunfeng Zhang at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the University of Maryland (UMD) has recently been awarded a research project with a total budget worth $2.67 million dollars. The project team members also include the North Carolina State University (NCSU) and URS Corporation, a giant engineering company. The US Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), under The Commercial Remote Sensing and Spatial Information (CRS&SI) Technologies Program, provides $1.15 million under a cooperative agreement, and the rest comes from matching supports from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA), Maryland State Highway Administration (MSHA), North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), as well as cost sharing by UMD and NCSU.
The project aims to develop a smart bridge condition monitoring system termed ISHM system, which features a number of technology innovations, including remote sensing capability, piezo paint acoustic emission sensors, wind and solar based energy harvesting devices to power sensor network, high-speed wireless sensing ability and advanced data analysis methods for remaining life estimation of aging bridges. With many bridges plagued with fatigue cracking problems, the current system will be focused on fatigue condition assessment of highway steel bridges with a potential for monitoring other types of structural damages, such as corrosion. The proposed system will integrate recent advancements in civil, aerospace, and electrical disciplines to develop a transformational system that will have high-rewards in reducing the operating and maintenance costs by providing an accurate quantification of damage and degradation at an early stage.
After validation and characterization tests performed at the UMD’s Structures Lab, the ISHM system will be implemented on bridges at Maryland and North Carolina for field demonstration. If successful, this system will be deployed to more bridges in other states. One of the primary goals for the RITA funded project is to commercialize the developed sensor technology. The project team is also looking at possible technology transfer opportunities to commercialize the developed technology by partnering with UMD’s business incubator programs. Through successful advancement and commercialization in the state-of-the-art technology of remote infrastructure sensing, the ISHM system is promising to reduce life cycle costs while significantly maintaining the sustainability of the highway infrastructures in the US.

July 18, 2011

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