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Remote monitoring strain / extension using novel sensing element


The goal of this project is to make a microsystem that can measure strain in large industrial plant operating at up to 600 C. The microsystem will detect strain rates as small as 10 8 hr 1.

The operation of plant in the power generation, chemical and petrochemical processes and nuclear sectors all require boilers and pipework to operate for long periods at high temperatures in the creep range. At these temperatures, accurate knowledge of the plant condition is needed to ensure safe and reliable operation and to avoid catastrophic creep failure.

At present, this knowledge is gained from costly, periodic shut downs and manual inspection. A microsystem which could continuously monitor plant condition would bring about very significant reductions in the cost of operation and maintenance. In the power generation industry alone, an immediate 6% saving on EU wide maintenance costs of 540 MECU would be realized. This would save over 32 MECU per annum. Continuous monitoring is therefore viewed by plant operators as a vital enabling technology necessary to implement modern principles of asset management.

The microsystem will be built around a Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) strain sensor. The sensor will be packaged with integral antennas so that it can be interrogated by a short range RF link, which will reduce installation difficulties. To successfully develop a
microsystem like this, a range of expertise is needed and the consortium has been formed with this in mind. The work is divided into ten tasks and these cover the different aspects of the development, namely: provision of SAW crystals; development of the SAW microsensor; packaging the microsystem; development of the RF system; system integration and laboratory tests; and testing on industrial plant.
The results will be exploited by turning the microsystem (and RF link) into a commercial product. Members of the consortium have the capability to manufacture and market the microsystem which will be sold to: the end users within the consortium; a user group to be formed towards the end of the project; and to third parties. Commercialization is planned to commence with a selected user group in power generation and process plant sectors, but it is expected that the benefits and technical advances provided by the proposed system will expand the end user base to include industrial sectors such as turbomachinery, aerospace, chemical, petrochemical and nuclear industries.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


ERA Technology Ltd.
Cleeve Road
KT22 7SA Leatherhead
United Kingdom

Participants (5)

AVL - List GmbH - Gesellschaft für Verbrennungskraftmaschinen und Messtechnik GMBH
48,Kleiststraße 48
8020 Graz
Antenne Bad Blankenburg - Mobile Antennentechnik GmbH
44,Bahnhofstrasse 44
7422 Bad Blankenburg
4,C/ Goya 4
28001 Madrid
Gustav Kirchoff Strasse 1 (Kirchoffbau)
98684 Ilmenau
Thomson-CSF Detexis SA
Boulevard Jean Moulin
78852 Elancourt