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Remote monitoring strain / extension using novel sensing element

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Remote sensing for creep strain

Industrial plants, such as power generators, nuclear plants and petrochemical plants, operate at high temperatures for extended periods of time and are subject to creep strain. Creep defines the plastic deformation occurring in a system when operating under such conditions of elevated temperatures.

Industrial Technologies

In order to maintain the operational safety of industrial plants and to ensure plant life maximization, plant managers need to schedule shut-down time for maintenance periods. These are costly and time consuming for in most cases they result in productivity loss and require careful manual inspections. ERA Technology, a British firm specialising in integrated system technologies, in co-operation with a consortium of other industrial, educational and research interests, have developed a Surface Acoustic Wave sensor made of Gallium Orthophosphate. This micro-sized system can operate successfully in conditions up to 600 degrees Celsius and has a wireless transmission capacity that measures the energy the sensor has stored and then characterises it according to positional strain information. This data is then transmitted to an interrogation system through simple radio frequencies. Currently this technology has been tested in laboratory ovens and implemented in a coal-fired power generator in Spain with encouraging results, proving the viability of remote wireless sensors in adverse environments. Future developments of this project are aimed towards a system that can monitor plant operational functionality without the need for costly shut-down and inspection periods. The project further aims to develop this technology so that the sensor can operate at higher temperatures, be capable of operating in a multi-channel system, making it possible to monitor strain and temperature sensing in such a manner that statistical evidence can be used to predict plant life and operational status without the need for such costly shut down periods.

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