Novel Sensing Networks for Intelligent Monitoring (Newton)

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Electrical, Electronic & Computer Eng


This proposal seeks funding for a four-year research programme to develop an autonomous, intelligent system to obtain a revolutionary solution for condition/structural health intelligent monitoring, with specific applications in condition monitoring of railways and in-service Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) for nuclear applications. This project addresses important goals: low cost and low power consumption sensor networks, sensor exploration, software architectures, autonomous data fusion and intelligent system management, spectrally efficient and reliable communications with novel approaches of radio frequency identification (RFID) based passive sensing networks, non-linear feature extraction and model based fusion, compressed sensing, cloud-based computing and decision making. The research will extend our knowledge in several complementary areas: low cost sensor technologies, wireless sensor network (WSN) for NDE and structural health monitoring (SHM), feature extraction and fusion, robust communication, and software architectures. The work will be undertaken jointly by cross-disciplinary research teams from Newcastle, Sheffield and York Universities, in collaboration with industrial strategic partners.

Planned Impact

The project aims to provide a step change in condition, health and environmental monitoring by developing and applying novel intelligent autonomous technologies, in order to reduce the risk of structural failure and to achieve advanced Operation and Maintenance (O&M) strategies. The impacts of this project can be assessed in the four aspects of knowledge, economy, society, and people as outlined below.
Knowledge - The project will deliver new autonomous monitoring systems with intelligent information and infrastructure management. This will achieve scientific advances in a range of areas including sensor and WSNs, NDE and SHM, digital signal processing, and software architecture etc., which all fit in the new EPSRC's investment plan. The fundamental topics to be addressed by the project will be of interest to academics working in the priority areas of renewable energy (tidal/wave/wind), water management, and automotive/aerospace where reliability and fault diagnosis are of prime concerns.
Economy - The project addresses a number of fundamental technology development areas which are critical in the scenarios identified in the call. As a direct benefit, a demonstration system for condition monitoring of railway or nuclear plants will be established near the end of project. The research outcomes will yield knowledge transfer into other scenarios and sectors. These include, for example, the use of 'sensor-on-board' to monitor fatigue cracks, stress, and hidden corrosion in aircrafts for BAE systems and the condition monitoring of offshore wind farms. Based on the results achieved in this project, the consortium will seek further funding from TSB, ETI, and EU for further demonstration projects. Structural system developers will benefit from the project when determining their preventative and predictive O&M strategies. This is very important for the UK to lead in high value service and manufacturing in the world.
Society - The safety and reliability of industrial plants and processes will improve as the result of the introduction of SHM. Long term deployment strategies for O&M will benefit from the application of intelligent condition & health monitoring techniques developed in this project. This will lead to a safe and healthy environment so as to bring benefits to society. The improved O&M strategies also have an impact on sustainability.
People - The PDRAs and academic investigators will benefit from the research studies, obtaining new experience and knowledge, as will the industrial collaborators who will have the opportunity to become closely involved in world leading research studies. Researchers outside the consortium will also benefit from the outcomes through the project's dissemination activities. This is essentially a 'Shaping Capability' project with defined research scenarios and in close collaboration with industrial partners. Through the project and associated industrial collaborations, research 'leaders' will be 'sharper' in focus. Many emerging areas such as cloud computing and Internet of Things (IoT) will reach to a better developed states. Some PDRAs in this project may work as academics after the project finishes. This will enhance the UK academic capacity in these areas.


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Arcadius Tokognon C (2017) Structural Health Monitoring Framework Based on Internet of Things: A Survey in IEEE Internet of Things Journal

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Gao B (2018) Physics-Based Image Segmentation Using First Order Statistical Properties and Genetic Algorithm for Inductive Thermography Imaging. in IEEE transactions on image processing : a publication of the IEEE Signal Processing Society

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Gao S (2016) High-Performance Wireless Piezoelectric Sensor Network for Distributed Structural Health Monitoring in International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks

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Hodge V (2015) Wireless Sensor Networks for Condition Monitoring in the Railway Industry: A Survey in IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems

Description RFID sensors and Communication, LF, HF and UHF RFIDs have been investigated;
RFID sensor network and demonstration are developed in conjunction with industries. Chipless RFID sensors have been demonstrated for crack and corrosion sensing and monitoring in the first time.
Nonlinear signal processing for pulsed eddy current and UT signal feature extraction and identification
More applications link to Big data management and ICT infrastructure e.g. IOTs are investigated.
Exploitation Route Further research and demonstration link to industries e.g. Network Rail, National Nuclear Lab, British Steel, CRRC (for Chinese railway). It has been proposed for security application including e-passport.
More research initiatives such as Engineering Grand Challenges, Robotics and Autonomous Systems, H2020 should be explored.
Further international funded projects have been funded e.g. NSFC and Chinese industries in oil and gas pipelines.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Retail,Security and Diplomacy,Transport,Other

Description RFID sensors have been applied for nuclear plant monitoring, design and development of innovative wagons through shift2rail. Through our publication, British Steel has approached us for integration of RFID and sensing together for rail track asset management for HS2. More publications and research projects are prepared. RFID sensors have been applied for oil and gas pipeline industry.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Retail,Transport,Other
Impact Types Societal,Economic

Description Commission of the European Communities
Amount £425,000 (GBP)
Funding ID CONHEALTH 2576737 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 04/2012 
End 04/2016
Description EMAT based Pipeline integrity
Amount £62,000 (GBP)
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2016 
End 03/2017
Description EPSRC IAA 3D eddy current thermography
Amount £58,835 (GBP)
Funding ID    EP/K503885/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2016 
End 03/2017
Description Game changer Proposal and Poster
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation National Nuclear Laboratory 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 03/2017
Description NDTonAIR: Training Network in Non-Destructive Testing and Structural Health Monitoring of Aircraft structures
Amount £189,034 (GBP)
Funding ID 722134 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 05/2017 
End 04/2020
Description USMART - smart dust for large scale underwater wireless sensing
Amount £400,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P017975/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2017 
End 01/2020
Description GE PII 
Organisation ZONARE Medical Systems, Inc.
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Knowledge transfer through KTP
Collaborator Contribution KTP
Impact Ongoing
Start Year 2016
Description NNL 
Organisation National Nuclear Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Win gamechanger proposal and partnership for Robotics and Autonomous Systems
Collaborator Contribution partnership for Robotics and Autonomous Systems
Impact Develop poster and a proposal
Start Year 2010
Description Network Rail 
Organisation Network Rail Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Joint tests and case studies
Collaborator Contribution Industrial problems, samples
Impact Joint studies
Start Year 2012
Description Rolls-Royce plc 
Organisation Rolls Royce Group Plc
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2008
Description University of Sheffield 
Organisation University of Sheffield
Department Automatic Control and Systems Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Feature extraction and signal processing
Collaborator Contribution Part of Newton project
Impact Multi-disciplinary and complementary
Start Year 2013
Description University of York 
Organisation University of York
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
Start Year 2007
Description Panellist in ENDE 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The 20th International Workshop on Electromagnetic NonDestructive Evaluation, ENDE2015, was successfully held at the Katahira Sakura Hall, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, 21-23, September.
A keynote lecture by Professor Gerd Dobmann titled 'Global trend of ENDE studies' was held on 22nd to review the development of studies of electromagnetic non-destructive evaluations in the last couple of decades. The recent trends of the studies were then discussed in a subsequent panel session titled 'ET&ENDE - Where we are and where we want to go?' where three distinguished professors, Professor Antonello Tamburrino, Professor Gui Yui Tian, and Professor Lalita Udpa, were invited as panelists.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015