Comprehensive Structures Health Monitoring (CSHM)

Period of Performance: 04/13/2004 - 04/13/2006


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Systems & Processes Engineering Corp
7050 Burleson Road
Austin , TX 78744
Principal Investigator


SPEC has assembled a world class Integrated Product Team (IPT)- academia, governmental and commercial- to transition the Ph1 study into a practical CBM prototype "Comprehensive Structures Health Monitoring (CSHM) system in a mobile van configuration for data collection and on-site evaluation of the test bed structure condition in relation to corrosive deterioration. In essence, SPEC corrosion detection IPT team will be able to access the condition of structures and recommend corrective action prior to events leading to excessive damage and eventual structural failure. This is CBM for structures. Corrosion is one of the major problems of commercial and military maintenance, costing billions of dollars annually in manpower and materials. With stretched operational and maintenance budgets, a system capable of detecting early onset of corrosion is essential to manage the corrosion problem. SPEC seeks to extend its Ph1 effort to alleviate this corrosion dilemma by continuing the prototype fluorescent corrosion indicator (FCI) system for metal under paint. In addition, extend Ph1 feasibility study into a practical condition based maintenance (CBM) prototype for the application of a specialty FCI optical fiber for sensing corrosion, strain, temperature and potentially relative humidity within a reinforced concrete structure. Part of the Phase II plan is to involve potential Phase III commercial users in field testing of CSHM system as reflected by the IPT put together by SPEC to lend both technical and commercial guidance. 3M views CSHM as a huge potential market for a new specialty fiber product line, application area that is virgin and have signed on to the IPT team for this reason. University of Texas Center for Transportation Research (CTR) will facilitate involvement by Texas Department of Transportation (TxDoT) in Beta testing within the Texas highway system. Successful results of field testing will lend legitimacy to the practical CBM commercial viability of CSHM deployment not only into the TxDoT transportation system but also into the federal system (USDoT). CERL laboratories will also be used to confirm the FCI technology of the CSHM system. Through CERL, military applications of CSHM will be pursed. CSHM technology represents a very high payoff potential for the monitoring and maintenance of critical and high valve civilian structures, such as chemical reaction vessels and any steel and steel-reinforced concrete structures that are exposed to corrosive environments. SPEC, with IPT partners, will explore other possible industrial applications such as chemical processing, pharmaceutical, microelectronics, pulp and paper, aviation, and marine vessels. Additional military applications include storage tanks, pipelines, aging aircraft, and Navy ships.