Recent Advances in Structural Health Monitoring


The problem to be solved by a new technology is related to the operation of buildings and engineering structures on permafrost soils

© RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich

Russian scientists at Novosibirsk State University (NSU), Department of Geology and Geophysics, have developed, patented and presented a new technology for express assessment of the condition of buildings and structures. The technology has been presented at the АRCTECH 2023 Arctic Technology Forum and can be used in the Arctic and areas with permafrost.

The problem to be solved by the NSU technology is related to the operation of buildings and engineering structures on permafrost soils. The bearing capacity of foundations (in particular, pile foundations and other types of foundations) can be affected both by the seasonal thawing of soils and by an increase in the temperature of the foundations due to global warming. If pile foundations lose their load-bearing capacity, buildings and structures may be subject to uneven deformations, which can lead to emergency situations including collapse, Director of the NSU Centre for Technology Transfer and Commercialization said.

A hardware and software system for rapid monitoring of buildings and structures was developed so that decisions could be made promptly about stopping operation or carrying out technical measures to strengthen the foundations. The system includes sensors – micro-seismic sensors that record the frequency and amplitude of vibrations of building structures, and recorders that store this data and can then transmit it either to Cloud Storage or a laptop if the data is processed on-site.

If the building is in good condition, then the vibration amplitudes should be small, but if the stability is lost, then they increase significantly. Based on the frequency and change in these amplitudes over time, conclusions can be drawn about the deterioration of the technical condition of the building.

The scientists are now developing a cloud service for downloading and storing information on the technical condition of all the facilities under study. Subsequently, based on it, it is planned to launch a notification service, so that organisations maintaining these facilities could promptly receive information about possible life-threatening events.

At the moment, the technology for monitoring buildings and structures is being tested at large Russian enterprises.

The Arctic Technology Forum aims to transform scientific and technological developments into digital and engineering solutions to develop comfortable living conditions for people in the Arctic and ensure the successful operation of companies in the regions of the Far North and Far East.

Structural Health Monitoring (or SHM) uses permanently installed sensors to generate continuous data. A specific software enables to display the data in smart graphics and generates alerts. It is used in conjunction with spot check inspections to enable relevant structural data analysis. It aims to maintain infrastructures, extend their working lives, and detect and forecast their faults.