Monday, February 2, 2009

Researchers to Turn Wireless and Green Technologies to Monitor Bridges

Engineers at the University of Texas have decided to create a new way to monitor bridges using tiny wireless sensors. It has been shown by the Federal Highway Administration that twenty-five percent of highway bridges in the United States are lacking in their structure and are becoming obsolete in functioning The engineers in Austin have been given a grant of 3.4 million dollars over the next five years to create these monitors. The purpose of these sensors, which will be placed on the inside of the bridges, will be to monitor the bridges for fractures. In addition, they will detect signs of corrision, something that current bridge inspections can't do. This may prove to be difficult because, as most of us know, steel and concrete have an effect on most wireless devices today. For the engineers to find a solution to this problem, there is going to have to be many experminents testing the wireless technologies to determine which way to go. This will involve the civil, mechanical and electrical engineering departments of the university. But not only will these devices hopefully be more effective in highway bridge inspection but they are also intended to be eco-friendly. Today, the concern for a healthy environment in constantly growing. The concept of "green" is becoming more and more popular and many people will be happy to hear that this new technology is to be powered by solar and wind energy rather than electricity. If the engineers succeed in creating these monitors, not only will we have a more sufficient, effective way to check the structural security of the bridges, we will also have a simple, eco-friendly way to keep drivers safe.

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