Structural health monitoring & life extension is an important thrust area for CSIR-SERC and it has developed R&D expertise in this area for over three decades. CSIR-SERC has been approached by many public and private sector organisations to conduct health monitoring, condition assessment and provide solutions regarding life extension of various types of structures such as bridges and nuclear containment structures. CSIR-SERC has been carrying out R&D using the state-of-the-art techniques such as use of vibrating wire strain gauges, fibre Bragg grating sensors, core trepanning techniques, flat jack technique and vibration measurement technique, and also using life extension methods -external prestressing, external wrapping.
Expertise has been created on advanced non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques such as ground penetrating radar, ultrasonic pulse echo and impact echo for condition assessment of concrete structures. However, there is enormous scope to carry out in-depth research for the development of advanced and reliable methodologies for real time monitoring of structures for the health assessment. Also there is a large scope for developing new sensors and associated monitoring techniques to make the structure intelligent and smart. Another area that needs to be researched upon is engineering decision making regarding inspection and repair/retrofit of in-service structures using online monitoring data. This also calls for trans-disciplinary approaches considering areas of sensing, communication, digital signal processing, digital image processing, data management, system identification, information technology, soft computing, physics-based methods such as quantum mechanics, etc.
Enhanced technical developments in digital image processing will help in traffic load estimation for assessing safety of existing transportation structures. The structural health monitoring schemes can also help in identifying the effect of change in environment on urban infrastructure. Considerable scope exists in this area to carry out translatory research, through development of technologies and products. Scientists of CSIR-SERC have gained enormous experience in carrying out field investigations and in developing remote health monitoring schemes and thus CSIR-SERC can claim to have domain experience in this area. The need for research in this area need not be overemphasized due to the expected large growth in infrastructure with respect to urbanization in our country due to recent GoI initiatives such as Smart Cities, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation.