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CUD professor's team secures $900,000 grant for research

The project is set to develop an innovative Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) system, using sensor networks, to assess the physical condition of assets such as tunnels, bridges, historical buildings and underground and offshore construction.



Published: Sat 13 Jun 2015, 10:22 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:47 PM

Dubai: Dr Adel Ben Mnaouer, Associate Professor of Engineering at Canadian University Dubai (CUD), is among a team of academic experts that has secured a $900,000 grant from the Qatar Foundation to explore the application of sensor technology in protecting physical assets, including historical buildings and offshore facilities.

The project is set to develop an innovative Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) system, using sensor networks, to assess the physical condition of assets such as tunnels, bridges, historical buildings and underground and offshore construction. The research aims to help maintain a safe and sustainable environment by developing an early warning system that detects and warns of potential structural failures or threats.

Speaking about the significance of the project in preserving the built environment, Dr Mnaouer said: “Physical assets, particularly those that are ageing, require constant, long-term and continuous monitoring and assessment of their structural health, in order to protect both the structures themselves and the environment around them. The process is especially important in helping to preserve our history and heritage through the monitoring of ageing structures, such as monuments, towers and older buildings.”

The three-year study, which is due to start this summer, will be funded by the Qatar Foundation’s National Priorities Research Programme. This is the third research grant Dr Mnaouer has been awarded through the highly competitive scheme, which attracts applications from all over the world including the USA, Canada and Europe. The proposal was among only 14 per cent of funded applications in this year’s cycle.

Alongside Dr Mnaouer, the project will bring together a multi-disciplinary team of experts from the Department of Information Engineering at the University of Brescia, Italy, who will be working on the development of the special-purpose SHM sensors; and the College of Engineering at Qatar University, who will work alongside CUD on the networking platforms and radio and wireless communication technologies to support the dissemination of data from sensory devices.

Ultimately, the research is set to benefit a wide range of organisations and institutions that have a stake in the protection and preservation of structures and infrastructure.

Dr Mnaouer concluded: “The project will deliver the prototypes for an end-to-end solution for SHM, which will be of use by government agencies and authorities, private construction firms, excavation companies, oil drilling corporations, and historical conservation groups in their work towards a safe and sustainable environment.”


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