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Distributed Sensing Textile For Bridge Monitoring

Graphic illustration for Distributed Sensing Textile For Bridge Monitoring. Overview of the proposed research

Overview of the proposed research.

PI: Xingwei Wang
Co-PI: Tzuyang Yu
Institution: University of Massachusetts Lowell
PI Email:
PI Phone: 978-934-1981

Background / Need:

The problem we are trying to solve is how to monitor the aging bridges. The problem is important because managing aging civil infrastructure is a major challenge facing every country in the world, including the U.S. Deterioration and premature failures of civil infrastructure have a critical impact on the U.S. economy, impacting business productivity, gross domestic product (GDP), employment, personal income, and international competitiveness. It is estimated by the ASCE that the U.S. economy is expected to lose almost $4 trillion in GDP, resulting in a loss of 2.5 million jobs in 2025 if the infrastructure investment gap is not addressed (ASCE 2016).


The objective of this project is to develop and manufacture sensing textiles for monitoring of civil infrastructure systems such as highway bridges.

  • Integrate intelligent fiber optic sensors into geotextiles to monitor highway bridges and send data to the asset owner.
  • Validate the sensing system on a bridge model.
Pedestrian bridge and POTDR12/30/2019  We have conducted a field test on a pedestrian bridge by using Brillouin Optical Time Domain Reflectometer (BOTDR) technology to validate the sensing system. The pedestrian bridge is located at UMass Lowell connecting Ball Hall and Olney Hall. Strain changes between loading and unloading at the testing area were observed. A major signal change that could come from either the internal defect or surface crack was analyzed.
Sensing Fiber Cable1
Loading scheme1

  • Professor Xingwei Wang, Ph.D., Electrical and Computer Engineering