Bridging the sensor gap

The Intersect Faraday Partnership is using a revolutionary new bridge in Oxfordshire to field-test a robust fibre optic sensor system

developed by its Structural Integrity Monitoring project. The West Mill Bridge, the first public highway bridge in Europe to be built from advanced composite materials, is being used to develop and test fibre Bragg grating sensors for use on large engineering structures exposed to harsh environmental conditions. Data from the sensors will be collated remotely for analysis by new techniques under development by Intersect, allowing continuous monitoring of the bridge's condition. The monitoring technology will have enormous potential applications in the UK’s oil and gas, nuclear, construction, and transport sectors. Intersect is the intelligent sensing Faraday Partnership, managing new research and related exploitation and training in intelligent sensing. It is managed and administered by Sira and the National Physical Laboratory, with support from DTI, EPSRC, 18 universities and more than 150 corporate and SME participants. The Structural Integrity Monitoring project is managed by City University’s Measurement and Instrumentation Centre. Collaborators on the project include Cranfield University (RMCS), Sira, NPL, Mouchel, EM Technology, Lumen Photonics, BNFL, Corus, QinetiQ, Infraco Sub-Surface and the Highways Agency. MF