Wired to wireless structural engineering

Structural engineers are now working on new method to integrate wireless sensor networks as a means of ensuring that we live and work with latest safety regulations, and ready to face any natural disasters or terror attacks.

For instance, the structural engineers in the past and present are looking into the design and maintenance of bridges. Nevertheless, monitoring a bridge’s structure can be costly, especially when using wires that are attached to sensors throughout the bridge’s entire build. Therefore, a newer and cheaper wireless system might be the way of the future. According to Matthew Roblez, a certified and licensed structural engineer and part owner and principal of McNeil Engineering, “the reason is that ‘wired control systems have one major flaw that makes the cost of using them almost not worth it: during natural disasters and accidents, the wires for the systems tend to break when they are needed the most, rendering them useless. The worry of the system failing is greatly negated when wireless systems are brought into play. The wireless systems can be more resilient to damage during earthquakes or hurricanes and still provide data to the people monitoring the structure”

Professors from Washington University in St. Louis, Purdue University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have teamed up to develop a new system they call Wireless Cyber-Physical Simulator. The simulator combines realistic simulations of structures and wireless networks, and they believe it is a promising attempt at getting real-time measurements from wireless sensors during natural disasters.

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Source: Wireless Sensor Network Magazine