The last decade was remarkable with regard to infrastructure developments throughout the globe. At this rate, there will be thousands of skyscrapers built across the world by 2050. Such construction structures are essentials for accommodation, commute, and sustaining the growing urban population. Hence, there are some new concerns regarding the health of these civil engineering works. Structural health monitoring is essential to keep track of these constructions’ health to avoid any disastrous situations. Technology has an answer for structural health monitoring as well, which could bring smart city ideas to reality.
Importance Of Structural Health In Smart Cities
Structural damages are critical and can cause damages beyond just the infrastructure. Therefore, it is important to review the health of infrastructure in areas with high seismic risk or those stressed with external stimuli. Structural damages can be visible, and monitoring them is an easy job to guarantee infrastructure safety. Structural health monitoring systems can go beyond the building, including road infrastructure (roads, bridges) and geotechnical monitoring.
How Does These System Monitor Structure’s Health?
Similar to most IoT systems, structural health monitoring systems consist of various sensors to monitor the structure. These sensors include displacement, inclination, atmospheric temperature, and atmospheric humidity. Installation of these sensors takes place throughout the structure in appropriate locations to collect data from every region. Moving forward, these collections of sensor data are then sent to cloud architecture for storage, and one can access these data from their mobile phone app as well as a web app through any personal device.
Several System Requirements For Monitoring Structural Health:
- Being long range
The size of road infrastructure and buildings will be far beyond the viability of small or medium range communications. Therefore, the wireless technologies with the farthest range would be the best fit. Higher communication would require a simpler networking infrastructure. Thus, resulting in a lesser cost of implementation.
- Low power consumption
Sustainability is always a question for any system. Thus, structural health monitoring solutions also need to account for power consumption and power supply limitations. Even better would be a solution that can work on renewable power and leverage the low power modes in the best manner.
- User accessibility through the mobile app or web app
Users would be accessing these systems through their smartphones or personal computer devices. Therefore creating a clean, clear, and insightful user interface plays an important role here. An ideal end-user application would allow tracking, monitoring, control, and alerts of the system.
- Ease of installation
It is important to understand the entire installation of technological architecture on the construction site. Any complex installation, fixing, and wiring could affect the operation of the whole structure. Therefore, it would fail the complete purpose of the structural efficiency.
- Reliability & efficiency
Structural health monitoring systems shall run autonomously once the installation is done. These systems are expected to be accurate, fail-safe, and long-living. Moreover, the idea of minimum human intervention makes these systems viable as structures can not have constant human supervision.
- Data logging
IoT systems always require some minimum capacity for data logging. It is because of the network communication scenarios. Structural health monitoring systems have to log the data locally in case when internet connectivity is unavailable. It is crucial to plan how much memory is needed for data logging based on data collection frequencies and expected data from sensors.
Beneficiaries Of Structural Health Systems
Structural health is an important parameter for any civil infrastructure. However, there are a few areas where these systems could be game-changer. For instance, rocky hills and mountains often create issues for the civilians commuting or settling around them. Other examples may include narrow roads on hill stations or unhealthy old buildings. Structural failure can cause loss of resources, roadblocks and even threaten the lives of humans and animals.
In conclusion, structural health monitoring will surely make its way into most of the construction work that will take place in upcoming years. Smarter cities and artistic skyscrapers would definitely need to look after structural health. Furthermore, after a few decades, the world may require even more complex architectures such as underground roads. IoT-based systems now carry the maturity to make their way for mass ecosystems, such as monitoring city structures.