Posted On: July 7, 2021

Did you know that 1 in 9 bridges in the US are considered to be “structurally deficient” according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. It’s a worrying statement and one not uncommon closer to home. Take Germany or Denmark for instance, where there are several very old bridges dating back to the 1930’s which today take 10 times more traffic load than they were ever designed to achieve. This along with heavier vehicles, breeds a concern over bridge safety and the load such a structure can continue to take day in, day out.

Concrete fatigue is due to long term low amplitude force or stress, with many cycles occurring over the life of the structure, that leads to concrete fracture. This can happen in tension, shear, and compression failure zones. 

The key to bridge safety is regular maintenance. This is of course an expensive exercise and as cracks start to appear and structural engineers highlight potential weaknesses, the maintaining body is less and less likely to be happy to sign the commissioning paperwork and risk getting it wrong. With people’s lives at stake, bridge owners are starting to turn to data to give them the peace of mind that the bridge can continue to take the load and strain of a busy, traffic filled day.

So how can our products be used to define a bridges safety?

Good question and one that the team at Datum Electronics alongside our distributor Vetec A/S can explain.

“Smart sensors are the key to cost effective and reliable, data driven concrete monitoring for bridges across the globe.”

Says Adrian Coventry, Datum’s engineering manager and expert in bridge monitoring. Adrian continues,

“Datums smart sensors can monitor the dynamic changes of the bridge along with the environmental differences and report the data 24/7. For instance, as the sun goes up and down the change in temperature will have an effect on the bridge as will the motion of the bridge as vehicles travel across or even the wind that collides with the bridge. All of these conditions have an effect on the bridges structure and can cause the bridge to fail.”

This type of condition monitoring means the bridge can rely on automated reporting and alerts when there is an issue. The unique sensors are easily affixed and retrofitted to any concrete bridge and gives real data accuracy making maintenance pro-active rather than reactive. This monitoring technique is also far more cost effective than scheduled maintenance making maintenance targeted as the data exposes the structural weaknesses.

For more information on concrete monitoring with Datums smart sensors contact our sales team on +44(0)1983 282834 or web@datum-electronics.co.uk

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