Assessment of Landslides Using Acoustic Real-time Monitoring Systems (ALARMS): Low Cost Sensor Development and Exploitation

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Civil and Building Engineering

Abstract

Slope failures world-wide cause many thousands of deaths each year and damage built environment infrastructure costing billions of pounds to repair, resulting in thousands of people being made homeless and the breakdown of basic services such as water supply and transport. There is a clear need for low cost instrumentation that can provide an early warning of slope instability to enable evacuation of vulnerable people and timely repair and maintenance of critical infrastructure. Current instrumentation systems are either too expensive for wide scale use or have technical limitations. An approach based on acoustic emission real-time monitoring has been developed and demonstrated through research. It is proposed to develop low cost acoustic slope displacement rate sensors for a range of markets. These include very low cost sensors with visual/audible alarms for use in developing countries through to higher cost networked sensors with advanced diagnostic capability and wireless communication for condition appraisal of critical infrastructure in developed countries. In addition to manufacture of sensors, there is also a need for technical support on the selection of appropriate sensors, deployment and use. This project aims to design and build pre-prototype sensors, demonstrate their performance in field trials, conduct market research on the UK and international markets and develop a business plan to enable commercial exploitation of the technology.
 
Description The sesnor developed through this project was trialled on active landslides where its performance was compared to traditional monitoring methods. These trials demonstrated that the sensor could detect acoustic emission generated by the deforming slope and provide information on rates of deformation in real-time.
Exploitation Route This ongoing research and development is designed to establish performance of th sensor with the aim of commercialising it through licensing. The outputs from this project were used to obtain EPSRC Knowledge Transfer Account funding to extend the number of trials, including in collaboration with Network Rail, and also to obtain EPSRC/Finance South East Collaboration Funding in collaboration with The British Geological Survey to extend the trials and re-engineer the sensor to improve energy useage and reduce cost of manufacture.
Sectors Construction,Environment,Transport

 
Description The findings from this study were used to develop a family of low cost unitary sensors that have been extensively trialed at sites world-wide. This development was supported by EPSRC.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Construction,Environment,Transport
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic

 
Description Assessment of Landslides Using Acoustic Real-time Monitoring Systems (ALARMS): Proof of Concept
Amount £79,892 (GBP)
Organisation University of Sheffield 
Department EPSRC KTA Knowledge Transfer Account
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2010 
End 08/2011
 
Description Assessment of Landslides Using Acoustic Real-time Monitoring Systems (ALARMS): Proof of Concept
Amount £79,892 (GBP)
Organisation University of Sheffield 
Department EPSRC KTA Knowledge Transfer Account
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2010 
End 06/2011
 
Description Assessment of Landslides using Acoustic Real-time Monitoring Systems (ALARMS): Sensor Technical Development
Amount £40,933 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/I502041/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2011 
End 04/2012
 
Description Community Slope SAFE: Design for Manufacture
Amount £47,532 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2016 
End 03/2017
 
Description Community Slope SAFE: Malaysia Field Trial
Amount £26,615 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2016 
End 03/2017
 
Description European Commision Pre-commercial procurement
Amount € 58,105 (EUR)
Organisation Austrian Research Promotion Agency 
Sector Public
Country Austria
Start 02/2013 
End 05/2016
 
Description Slope ALARMS 'Lite': Protecting Vulnerable Global Communities
Amount £110,000 (GBP)
Organisation Loughborough University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2013 
End 09/2015
 
Description Geotechnical Observations Ltd 
Organisation Geotechnical Observations
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2007
 
Description Monitoring the BIONICS embankment, Newcastle, UK, using the Slope ALARMS acoustic emission system 
Organisation Durham University
Department School of Engineering and Computing Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Supply of Slope ALARMS acoustic emission monitoring systems. Field work for installation of the instrumentation and ongoing support services. Presentations at workshops and contributions to project meetings.
Collaborator Contribution Both Durham and Newcastle supported the field work activities and are involved in project meetings.
Impact PhD thesis: Quantification of slope deformation behaviour using acoustic emission monitoring
Start Year 2014
 
Description Monitoring the BIONICS embankment, Newcastle, UK, using the Slope ALARMS acoustic emission system 
Organisation Newcastle University
Department School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Supply of Slope ALARMS acoustic emission monitoring systems. Field work for installation of the instrumentation and ongoing support services. Presentations at workshops and contributions to project meetings.
Collaborator Contribution Both Durham and Newcastle supported the field work activities and are involved in project meetings.
Impact PhD thesis: Quantification of slope deformation behaviour using acoustic emission monitoring
Start Year 2014
 
Description Monitoring the Flat Cliffs and Scarborough Spa slopes, North Yorkshire, UK, using the Slope ALARMS acoustic emission system 
Organisation CH2M HILL
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Supply of Slope ALARMS acoustic emission monitoring systems. Field work for installation of the instrumentation and ongoing support services. Presentations at workshops and contributions to project meetings.
Collaborator Contribution SBC provided funds for the boreholes at both the Scarborough Spa and Flat Cliffs sites, in which the Slope ALARMS systems were installed. CH2M provided in-kind support through staff time for project meetings and field data collection.
Impact Conference paper: Performance of an acoustic emission monitoring system to detect subsurface ground movement at Flat Cliffs, North Yorkshire, UK PhD thesis: Quantification of slope deformation behaviour using acoustic emission monitoring
Start Year 2011
 
Description Monitoring the Flat Cliffs and Scarborough Spa slopes, North Yorkshire, UK, using the Slope ALARMS acoustic emission system 
Organisation Scarborough Borough Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Supply of Slope ALARMS acoustic emission monitoring systems. Field work for installation of the instrumentation and ongoing support services. Presentations at workshops and contributions to project meetings.
Collaborator Contribution SBC provided funds for the boreholes at both the Scarborough Spa and Flat Cliffs sites, in which the Slope ALARMS systems were installed. CH2M provided in-kind support through staff time for project meetings and field data collection.
Impact Conference paper: Performance of an acoustic emission monitoring system to detect subsurface ground movement at Flat Cliffs, North Yorkshire, UK PhD thesis: Quantification of slope deformation behaviour using acoustic emission monitoring
Start Year 2011
 
Description Monitoring the Grossreifling slope, Austria, using the Slope ALARMS acoustic emission system 
Organisation INGLAS GmbH & Co. KG
Country Germany 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Supply of Slope ALARMS acoustic emission monitoring systems. Field work for installation of the instrumentation and ongoing support services. Presentations at workshops and contributions to project meetings.
Collaborator Contribution Inglas provided support for the field work activities and have attended project meetings/workshops.
Impact Conference paper: Strategies for rock slope failure early warning using acoustic emission monitoring
Start Year 2013
 
Description Monitoring the Hollin Hill landslide, North Yorkshire, UK, using the Slope ALARMS acoustic emission system 
Organisation British Geological Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Supply of Slope ALARMS acoustic emission monitoring systems. Field work for installation of the instrumentation and ongoing support services. Presentations at workshops and contributions to project meetings.
Collaborator Contribution BGS provided in-kind support through staff time for field work, project meetings/workshops and development of publications.
Impact Journal papers: Acoustic emission monitoring of a soil slope: Comparisons with continuous deformation measurements Quantification of reactivated landslide behaviour using acoustic emission monitoring Assessment of ground-based monitoring techniques applied to landslide investigations Inclinometer casings retrofitted with acoustic real-time monitoring systems Reconstruction of landslide movements by inversion of 4D electrical resistivity tomography monitoring data Conference papers: An acoustic emission slope displacement rate sensor - case studies Acoustic emission monitoring of active waveguides to quantify slope stability PhD thesis: Quantification of slope deformation behaviour using acoustic emission monitoring
Start Year 2009
 
Description Monitoring the Passo della Morte landslide, north-east Italy, using the Slope ALARMS acoustic emission system 
Organisation National Research Council
Country Italy 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Supply of Slope ALARMS acoustic emission monitoring systems. Field work for installation of the instrumentation and ongoing support services. Presentations at workshops and contributions to project meetings.
Collaborator Contribution CNR funded the drilling of the boreholes, in which the Slope ALARMS systems were installed. They also supported ongoing field work activities and attended meetings.
Impact Conference paper: An acoustic emission slope displacement rate sensor - case studies
Start Year 2010
 
Description Monitoring the Peace River landslide, Alberta, Canada, using the Slope ALARMS acoustic emission system 
Organisation Government of Alberta
Department Ministry of Transportation
Country Canada 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Supply of Slope ALARMS acoustic emission monitoring systems. Field work for installation of the instrumentation and ongoing support services. Presentations at workshops and contributions to project meetings.
Collaborator Contribution Queen's University provided time to help with the field work and participated in regular project meetings. Alberta Transportation provided funds for the borehole drilling, in which the instrumentation was installed. Thurber Engineering provided time to help with the field work and ongoing maintenance of the system at the site, and made arrangements to facilitate Dr Alister Smith's visits to Canada to perform the field work. Thurber also provided materials for the installation and participate in project meetings.
Impact Conference paper: Listening for Landslides: Method, Measurements and the Peace River Case Study
Start Year 2013
 
Description Monitoring the Peace River landslide, Alberta, Canada, using the Slope ALARMS acoustic emission system 
Organisation Queen's University
Department Faculty of Civil Engineering
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Supply of Slope ALARMS acoustic emission monitoring systems. Field work for installation of the instrumentation and ongoing support services. Presentations at workshops and contributions to project meetings.
Collaborator Contribution Queen's University provided time to help with the field work and participated in regular project meetings. Alberta Transportation provided funds for the borehole drilling, in which the instrumentation was installed. Thurber Engineering provided time to help with the field work and ongoing maintenance of the system at the site, and made arrangements to facilitate Dr Alister Smith's visits to Canada to perform the field work. Thurber also provided materials for the installation and participate in project meetings.
Impact Conference paper: Listening for Landslides: Method, Measurements and the Peace River Case Study
Start Year 2013
 
Description Monitoring the Peace River landslide, Alberta, Canada, using the Slope ALARMS acoustic emission system 
Organisation Thurber Engineering Ltd
Country Canada 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Supply of Slope ALARMS acoustic emission monitoring systems. Field work for installation of the instrumentation and ongoing support services. Presentations at workshops and contributions to project meetings.
Collaborator Contribution Queen's University provided time to help with the field work and participated in regular project meetings. Alberta Transportation provided funds for the borehole drilling, in which the instrumentation was installed. Thurber Engineering provided time to help with the field work and ongoing maintenance of the system at the site, and made arrangements to facilitate Dr Alister Smith's visits to Canada to perform the field work. Thurber also provided materials for the installation and participate in project meetings.
Impact Conference paper: Listening for Landslides: Method, Measurements and the Peace River Case Study
Start Year 2013
 
Description Monitoring the Players Crescent cutting landslide, Southampton, UK, using the Slope ALARMS acoustic emission system 
Organisation Geotechnical Observations
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Supply of Slope ALARMS acoustic emission monitoring systems. Field work for installation of the instrumentation and ongoing support services. Presentations at workshops and contributions to project meetings.
Collaborator Contribution Geotechnical Observations provided in-kind support through time attending meetings and helping with field work, and they also provided field instrumentation to support the project (e.g. SAA). Network Rail provided in-kind support through helping with the field work.
Impact Journal paper: Stability monitoring of a rail slope using acoustic emission PhD thesis: Quantification of slope deformation behaviour using acoustic emission monitoring
Start Year 2011
 
Description Monitoring the Players Crescent cutting landslide, Southampton, UK, using the Slope ALARMS acoustic emission system 
Organisation Network Rail Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Supply of Slope ALARMS acoustic emission monitoring systems. Field work for installation of the instrumentation and ongoing support services. Presentations at workshops and contributions to project meetings.
Collaborator Contribution Geotechnical Observations provided in-kind support through time attending meetings and helping with field work, and they also provided field instrumentation to support the project (e.g. SAA). Network Rail provided in-kind support through helping with the field work.
Impact Journal paper: Stability monitoring of a rail slope using acoustic emission PhD thesis: Quantification of slope deformation behaviour using acoustic emission monitoring
Start Year 2011
 
Description Monitoring the Ripley landslide, British Columbia, Canada, using Slope ALARMS acoustic emission system 
Organisation Canadian National Railway
Country Canada 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Supply of Slope ALARMS acoustic emission monitoring system. Field work for installation of the instrumentation and ongoing support services. Presentations at workshops and contributions to project meetings.
Collaborator Contribution University of Alberta provided time (staff and students) to help with the field work, and made arrangements to facilitate Dr Alister Smith's visit to Canada to perform the field work. Canadian National Railway provided funds for materials, travel and subsistence for Alister to complete the field installation. They also provided staff time to support the field work. Canadian Pacific Railway provided staff time to support the field work. All collaborators participate in periodic project workshops.
Impact No outputs as of yet.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Monitoring the Ripley landslide, British Columbia, Canada, using Slope ALARMS acoustic emission system 
Organisation Canadian Pacific Railway
Country Canada 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Supply of Slope ALARMS acoustic emission monitoring system. Field work for installation of the instrumentation and ongoing support services. Presentations at workshops and contributions to project meetings.
Collaborator Contribution University of Alberta provided time (staff and students) to help with the field work, and made arrangements to facilitate Dr Alister Smith's visit to Canada to perform the field work. Canadian National Railway provided funds for materials, travel and subsistence for Alister to complete the field installation. They also provided staff time to support the field work. Canadian Pacific Railway provided staff time to support the field work. All collaborators participate in periodic project workshops.
Impact No outputs as of yet.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Monitoring the Ripley landslide, British Columbia, Canada, using Slope ALARMS acoustic emission system 
Organisation University of Alberta
Department Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Supply of Slope ALARMS acoustic emission monitoring system. Field work for installation of the instrumentation and ongoing support services. Presentations at workshops and contributions to project meetings.
Collaborator Contribution University of Alberta provided time (staff and students) to help with the field work, and made arrangements to facilitate Dr Alister Smith's visit to Canada to perform the field work. Canadian National Railway provided funds for materials, travel and subsistence for Alister to complete the field installation. They also provided staff time to support the field work. Canadian Pacific Railway provided staff time to support the field work. All collaborators participate in periodic project workshops.
Impact No outputs as of yet.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Monitoring the Ruthlin Mill and Duffryn Cottages landslides, Wales, UK, using the Slope ALARMS acoustic emission system 
Organisation Monmouthshire County Council
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Supply of Slope ALARMS acoustic emission monitoring systems. Field work for installation of the instrumentation and ongoing support services. Presentations and contributions to project meetings.
Collaborator Contribution MMC provided £2000 for the field installations of Slope ALARMS at the two sites. They also provided staff time to support the work and attend project meetings. Parsons provided in-kind support to help with planning the field work and to attend project meetings.
Impact Low cost real-time slope monitoring to inform risk management for the protection of people and infrastructure.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Monitoring the Ruthlin Mill and Duffryn Cottages landslides, Wales, UK, using the Slope ALARMS acoustic emission system 
Organisation Parsons Brinckerhoff
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Supply of Slope ALARMS acoustic emission monitoring systems. Field work for installation of the instrumentation and ongoing support services. Presentations and contributions to project meetings.
Collaborator Contribution MMC provided £2000 for the field installations of Slope ALARMS at the two sites. They also provided staff time to support the work and attend project meetings. Parsons provided in-kind support to help with planning the field work and to attend project meetings.
Impact Low cost real-time slope monitoring to inform risk management for the protection of people and infrastructure.
Start Year 2015
 
Description NERC British Geological Survey 
Organisation British Geological Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
Start Year 2005
 
Title Apparatus and method for monitoring soil slope displacement rate 
Description The architecture was developed for a family of unitary battery sensors that can provide information on the rate of displacement of a soil slope using quantification of detected acoustic emission. 
IP Reference GB2467419 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2010
Licensed No
Impact Public engagement through Discovery Channel film on the technique.
 
Description Slope ALARMS Enterprise Film Loughborough University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Loughborough University created an Enterprise film on Slope ALARMS, in which Professor Dixon and Dr Smith featured, as a way to engage wider audiences with the research project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBf24DlPSdw
 
Description Televised film for BBCs Inside Out programme 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The BBC decided to produce a film on landslide early warning in response to landslides in the UK during the winter of 2015-2016. Alister was interviewed and he demonstrated Slope ALARMS - this was filmed at one of our field trial sites in North Yorkshire, UK. The film aired on UK national television.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b071y2b9/inside-out-yorkshire-and-lincolnshire-22022016
 
Description Televised film for Discovery Channels Daily Planet programme 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Discovery Channel decided to produce a film on landslide early warning in response to the Oso landslide disaster. We demonstrated Slope ALARMS and filmed three of our field trial sites in North Yorkshire, UK. The film aired on Canada national television.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.slopealarms.com/