The EU-funded SMART-NEST (Smart technologies for transport safety – Innovation cluster nesting) project developed a new class of smart structures for transportation applications. These structures semi-actively control vibrations, thus preserving integrity under critical or unpredictable load conditions. They are also capable of post-accident self-diagnosis. The team additionally devised new techniques for detecting structural damage or loads, plus new strategies for structural adaptation. Researchers further developed associated smart sensors and related electronics, as well as self-diagnosis techniques. Partners demonstrated the hardware at Warsaw's Copernicus Science Centre. Concerns for the security of visitors meant that information from a distant bridge illustrating the adaptive impact absorption concept was relayed to the Centre. The project arranged for 23 researchers to complete 37 inter-sectorial secondments, constituting a total of 164 person-months. Such exchanges developed researcher skills, increased success prospects and promoted knowledge transfer. The project also provided supplementary training. Work yielded two European and nine Polish patent applications. SMART-NEST's new methods and technologies enable transportation structures, such as bridges, to self-monitor and diagnose their own safety status. Such structures also adaptively respond to vibrations, meaning less maintenance and lowered costs.
Smart bridges, vibration, SMART-NEST, smart technologies, transport, safety