Post-Earthquake Structural Health Monitoring System (PE-SMS)

Funder

The Royal Academy of Engineering---Frontiers of Engineering Seed Funding

Value

£20,000

Collaborators

Coventry University, Plymouth University and University of San Carlos

Team

Dr. Ross Wilkins (Coventry University, UK), Dr. Andrew Fox (Plymouth University, UK), Engr. Isabelo Rabuya (University of San Carlos, Philippines), Engr. Mark Cabilo Rabuya (University of San Carlos, Philippines)

Project objectives

Within urban centres of ODA countries, reinforced concrete structures (RCS) are the most common building archetype. However, poor design and poor quality control during construction make RCSs more susceptible to earthquake damage compared to other building systems. In addition, ODA countries possess limited numbers of engineers qualified to undertake post-earthquake damage assessment and delays in the completion of damage assessments can be significant. Without a building damage assessment, victim communities are unable to recover from the earthquake event and, on top of the physical damage, delays can lead to significant additional social and economic damage within the community.

This proposal aims to develop a Post-Earthquake Structural Health Monitoring System (PE-SMS). The PE-SMS will be an end-to-end proof of concept wireless sensor network for collection, communication and aggregation of structural health data. This data will greatly facilitate the post-earthquake structural assessment process, helping engineers target buildings that show signs of distress and allow some form of social and economic recovery in advance of the completion of a full damage assessment.

The PE-SMS will be validated through lab tests in the UK and field trials in the Philippines where a recent earthquake will provide a sample of buildings to test the system. These trials aim to show that wirelessly connected battery powered sensors are feasible and practical, for post-earthquake evaluation.

Impact

Many countries of the world suffer from the threat of earthquakes, but the socio-economic impact of earthquake events is disproportionately significant in less developed countries. We aim to assist engineers and disaster managers in the Philippines, by mitigating the impact of earthquakes in the country. The predominant building system used in many of areas of the Philippines is a reinforced concrete column, beam and slab framework with infill panels made from a variety of other materials. Reinforced concrete frame structures are highly susceptible to seismic damage and require expert engineering analysis to assess damage induced by a seismic event.

The Philippines has only a limited number of engineers qualified to undertake post-earthquake damage assessment, so delays in the completion of assessments can be significant. A PE-SMS system deployed quickly will have a significant impact, reducing delays in the damage assessment process, reducing potential loss of life due to building collapse and mitigating avoidable social and economic losses.