Innovation: Smart monitoring of historic structures

Last update: 29.06.2013
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Keywords: 
protection technologies, sensors, fe modelling, monitoring, social aspects, conservation, lifetime prognosis, information analysis, wireless sensor networks, environmental protection, information and communication technology applications, information acquisition
Historic structures are often of extraordinary architecture, design or material. The conservation of such structures for next European generations is one of the main future tasks. To conserve historic structures it is more and more required to understand the deterioration processes mainly caused by the environment. In certain cases continuous monitoring systems have been installed to obtain information about the deterioration processes. However, most of these monitoring systems were just weather or air pollution data acquisition systems and use only basic models for data analysis.

The real influence of the environment to the structure or the structural material is often unaccounted for. That means that the structural resistance is just calculated from the measurements and not determined by sufficient sensors. Another aspect is the fact that most monitoring systems require cabling, which is neither aesthetically appealing nor in some cases applicable due to the needed fastening techniques. The proposed project aims at the development of competitive tools for practitioners which goes beyond the mere accumulation of data. Smart monitoring systems using wireless sensor networks, new miniature sensor technologies (e.g. MEMS) for minimally invasive installation as well as smart data processing will be developed.

It will provide help in the sense of warnings (e.g. increase of damaging factors) and recommendations for action (e.g. ventilation or heating on/off, etc.) using data fusion and interpretation that is implemented within the monitoring system. The development will consist of small smart wireless and robust sensors and networks, with sensors for monitoring of e.g. temperature, humidity, air velocity, strain and crack opening, acoustic emissions, vibration, inclination, chemical attack, ambient and UV light, with built-in deterioration and material models, data pre-processing, and alarm functions to inform responsible persons about changes of the object status.

PROJECT GOALS:

The main objectives of SMooHS are:

Development of smart monitoring systems using wireless networks of miniature, robust sensors for minimally invasive installation at historic structures to monitor the most significant values that are needed to better understand deterioration processes and to help optimize the preservation of cultural heritage.
Provision of smart data processing based on the built-in material deterioration models which would warn owners and conservation professionals about threats, and the production of recommendations for action.
Development of user-friendly, modular and open source software which can be continuously updated and broadened to handle specific questions arising at objects, steer various combinations of sensors and be open for extensions in the future.

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Historic structures constitute an important part of our cultural heritage which we in turn have a duty to pass to future generations in the full richness of their authentic architecture and materials. The conservation of these structures presents a fascinating and diverse range of scientific challenges. In particular the need to protect them effectively from environmental degradation is widely recognised. Diagnostic monitoring thus far has been largely limited to acquisition of climate parameters and air pollution levels used as input into functions or models predicting damage. The limitations of the approach in assessing precisely the risk of damage to a concrete historic structure in its specific environment lead inevitably to a search for scientific methods of direct tracing damage, which should be non-invasive, continuous, simple, economic and capable of operating in real world conditions.

The main objectives of the SMOOHS project were the following:
1. development of smart monitoring systems using wireless networks of miniature, robust sensors for minimally invasive installation at historic structures to monitor the most significant values that were needed to better understand deterioration processes and help optimise the preservation of cultural heritage
2. provision of smart data processing based on the built-in material deterioration models which would warn owners and conservation professionals about threats and the production of recommendations for action
3. development of user friendly, modular and open source software which could be continuously updated and broadened to handle specific questions arising at objects, steer various combinations of sensors and be open for extensions in the future.

Developments in the proposed project were designed as smart monitoring techniques that employed permanently installed technologies addressing mainly competitiveness, simple application and stable long term behaviour with respect to reliability. For that purpose competitive sensors and sensor technologies, e.g. micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) were developed or used, if they were already available on the market.

By the time of the project elaboration there was a lack of sufficient models for material and structural deterioration that took into account the data from continuous monitoring. In order to provide the practitioner in the field of cultural heritage with a tool which would go beyond the mere accumulation of data, but would instead provide help in the sense of warnings, e.g. if damaging factor values increased, and recommendations for action, e.g. window opening and closing, ventilation on and off, heating on and off etc., data fusion and interpretation was implemented within the monitoring systems.

A number of building materials, such as wood, brick and stone masonry, mortars, plasters, terracotta, pigment layers etc., and material assemblies typical for historic structures were monitored for better investigation of structural damage and environmental pollution effects. With respect to the aspects of smart monitoring techniques defined above, there were no sufficient sensor technologies available for some applications. This was especially true for chemical attack due to gases or salts, for the measurement of moisture content inside a material and for the measurement of air flow at low speed inside buildings. For this reason new sensor technologies were investigated and tested with these purposes.

There were three climatic zones, namely the central European, northern and southern Mediterranean, represented in three main and three additional case studies during the project. Those sites offered the possibility of both indoor and outdoor testing.

Measurements of physical, chemical and mechanical material and environmental parameters during repeated monitoring on samples and specimens in varying but well defined environmental conditions in laboratory were intended to simulate and better understand structural and material deterioration processes due to the environment.

Based on previous experiences of the partners, physical models built in the laboratory simulated the form of structural elements made of brick and stone masonry, with the addition of plaster layers. Component materials and masonry layout were chosen in view to reproduce complex elements typical for historical structures. The conducted laboratory testing was also used to evaluate the capacity of the non destructive testing (NDT) methods and the developed monitoring systems to detect the beginning of material and structural damage and its evolution over longer periods by measuring mechanical and physical properties. Based on the testing results it was necessary to determine materials and deterioration models considering the most important influences of the environment that could be monitored by sufficient technologies.

By the end of the project small modular wireless sensor networks and autonomous wireless sensors were made available that:
1. could be used in combination with any kind of low power sensors
2. provided self organising and reorganising network functionality
3. had very low power consumption with optimised software and hardware functionality and
4. achieved sufficient methodologies for data analysis, data fusion and data reduction.

Additional software was available which was:

1. user friendly, to be used by practitioners in the field
2. modular, including modules for specific questions arising at the object to be monitored and sensor combinations
3. in many fields open source for maximum transparency
4. open for extensions and new modules, also from other research groups.

The modularity and open source concepts were most important for providing a dynamic tool, which could and would be updated and broadened continuously in the future with new research results, both from partners within this project team and from other research groups with their special expertise.

Further information about the project could be obtained at http://www.smoohs.eu .

Collaboration sought: N/A

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This innovation is the result of the project

Title: Smart Monitoring Of Historic Structures

Acronym: 
SMOOHS

Runtime: 
01.12.2008 to 30.11.2011

Status: 
completed project

Organisations and people involved in this eco-innovation.

Please click on an entry to view all contact details.

UNIVERSITAET STUTTGART

(Germany)

Role in project: Project Coordination

Contact person: Dr. GROSSE Christian

Website: http://www.uni-stuttgart.de

Phone: +49-711-685 66792

Contact

ACCADEMIA EUROPEA PER LA RICERCA APPLICATA ED IL PERFEZIONAMENTO PROFESSIONALE BOLZANO (ACCADEMIA EUROPEA BOLZANO)

(Italy)

Contact person: Dr. TROI Alexandra

Website: http://www.eurac.edu

Phone: +39 0471 055 602

Contact

ALMA MATER STUDIORUM-UNIVERSITA DI BOLOGNA

(Italy)

Contact person: Prof. UBERTINI Francesco

Website: http://www.unibo.it

Phone: +39-0512093513

Contact

ARTEMIS SRL

(Italy)

Contact person: Dr. ESPOSITO Enrico

Website: http://www.artemis-srl.it

Phone: +39-0712204442

Contact

AURA BÄRBEL DIERUFF KARL FIEDLER GBR

(Germany)

Contact person: Mrs. DIERUFF Bärbel

Phone: +49-711-465318

Contact

CENTRO DI PROGRETTAZIONE, DESIGN E TECHNOLOGIE DEI MATERIALI

(Italy)

Contact person: Dr. DE RICCARDIS Stefano

Website: http://www.cetma.it

Phone: +39-0831449200

Contact

DEPARTMENT OF ANTIQUITIES

(Jordan)

Contact person: Dr. AL-KHRAYSHEH Fawwaz

Phone: +962-64644320

Contact

INSTYTUT KATALIZY I FIZYKOCHEMII POWIERZCHNI, POLSKA AKADEMIA NAUK

(Poland)

Contact person: Dr. LUKOMSKI Michal

Website: http://www.ik-pan.krakow.pl

Phone: +48-126395190

Contact

KÄFERHAUS GMBH

(Austria)

Contact person: Dr. KAEFERHAUS Jochen

Website: http://www.kaeferhaus.at

Phone: +43-2244546310

Contact

METALMOBILE S.R.L.

(Italy)

Contact person: Dr. BASTIANINI Filippo

Phone: +39-3475966878

Contact

RIWAQ- CENTRE FOR ARCHITECTURAL CONSERVATION

(West Bank and Gaza Strip)

Contact person: Dr. AL AMIRY Suad

Website: http://www.riwaq.org

Phone: +972-2-2406887

Contact

STIFTUNG PREUSSISCHER KULTURBESITZ

(Germany)

Contact person: Dr. SIMON Stefan

Phone: +49-3032674910

Contact

SVEUCILISTE U ZAGREBU GRADEVINSKI FAKULTET

(Croatia)

Contact person: Prof. RAJCIC Vlatka

Website: http://www.grad.hr

Phone: +385-14639283

Contact

TTI-TECHNOLOGIE-TRANSFER-INITIATIVE GMBH

(Germany)

Contact person: Dr. KRÜGER Markus

Website: http://www.smartmote.de

Phone: +49-71168566789

Contact

UNIVERSITAET STUTTGART

(Germany)

Contact person: Mr. BACHMEIER Sebastian

Website: http://www.uni-stuttgart.de

Phone: +49-711-68566792

Contact