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Crack Sensor Research Project


Steel girders of bridges exposed to cyclic truck traffic loads experience fatigue stress, resulting in potential cracks and damages that can lead to catastrophic failures. Bridges across North America are aging and lack the necessary monitoring to ensure proper health and safety. Current inspection regimes are expensive, limited and infrequent. The application of structural health monitoring systems could be used to augment inspection criteria to detect cracks and defects early.

Available sensor systems such as fibre optic sensors and their Data Acquisition systems (DAQs) are expensive and difficult to install, making them impractical for use on most bridges. The requirement to design a low cost sensor to detect the presence of cracks in steel girders led to the design of an electronic based, smart binary sensor. The sensing element designed, is comprised of a composite material capable of detecting the presence of a developing crack once it exceeds a crack width of 0.15mm.

Included Sensors:

  • Moisture Detection Tape (MDS)

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