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SBIR Phase II:An RF Radiation Empowered Sensing Method for Low Cost Structural State Monitoring

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1026903
Agency Tracking Number: 0912667
Amount: $499,033.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: EL
Solicitation Number: NSF 08-548
Solicitation Year: 2010
Award Year: 2010
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
6327 Tone CT
Bethesda, MD 20817
United States
DUNS: 827730552
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Mehdi Khandani
 (301) 395-3892
Business Contact
 Mehdi Khandani
Phone: (301) 395-3892
Research Institution

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project addresses the deteriorating situation with respect to our nation?s infrastructure system, particularly bridges. A solution is critically needed to monitor the structural integrity of such systems in order to identify potential failures ? such as the Minneapolis I-35W Bridge collapse ? before they occur. Existing solutions for structural state sensing are expensive, labor intensive, non-scalable, and unreliable. Phase I demonstrated the feasibility of an innovative, cost-effective, non-intrusive, and scalable structural monitoring technology known as Active RF Test (ART). The investigators developed a prototype of a thin, mechanically flexible, patch-like wireless sensor that can be easily attached to distributed points of a structure. ART sensors are batteryless, with their energy supplied through an in-network RF energy radiation mechanism. Based on the Phase I success, Phase II will (1) optimize the architecture and enhance the capabilities of the ART sensors; (2) develop cost effective processes for high-volume production of the sensors; (3) develop analytical tools that generate a map of installation locations for ART sensors on a structure; (4) develop detection/diagnostics models based on the sensors; and (5) conduct a field evaluation of the ART system on two highway bridges.
The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is protecting the US infrastructure against aging, structural malfunction, and failures. Aging infrastructure poses a significant societal challenge: recent reports indicate that the US transportation infrastructure has 601,027 bridges, of which 71,419 are structurally deficient. Unique features of the proposed ART technology ? such as easy installation, low cost, scalability, energy self sufficiency, and durability ? make it an ideal response to this challenge. The attachment of ART patch sensors will be non-intrusive to a structure, the installation effort will be minimal, and no drilling will be required. The mechanical flexibility of the ART patch sensors will allow adaption to complex geometries, including bearing plates, gusset plates, joints, support cables, and truss systems on a bridge. Finally, ART technology features a multipurpose solution that can be tailored to structural integrity monitoring needs of different types of structures, including bridges, pipelines, dams, airframes, and offshore platforms. The 71, 419 structurally deficient US bridges alone represent a commercial market of $2.8 billion. The potential to address other structures, along with the potential for international sales, would enhance the opportunity.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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