‘Sensing skin’ could monitor the health of concrete infrastructure continually and inexpensively

June 29, 2011

By Denise Brehm
Civil & Environmental Engineering

In 2009, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) assigned a grade of “D” to the overall quality of infrastructure in the United States, saying that ongoing evaluation and maintenance of structures was necessary to improve that grade. Since then, federal stimulus funds have made it possible for communities to repair some infrastructure, but high-tech, affordable methods for continual monitoring remain in their infancy. Instead, most evaluation of bridges, dams, schools and other structures is still done by visual inspection, which is slow, expensive, cumbersome and in some cases, dangerous.

Civil engineers at MIT, working with physicists at the University of Potsdam in Germany, recently proposed a new method for continual electronic mon