An engineering professor at UW-Platteville has developed a new monitoring system to recognize tiny defects in concrete structures such as bridges.

According to an info sheet from the WiSys Technology Foundation, the system can measure cracks as thin as a human hair, as well as minute changes to internal stress within the structure. Using sensors and an ultrasound signal generator along with data processing software, it can visualize cross sections of structures.

The system could be used for structural health testing for a variety of concrete structures including bridges, tunnels, dams, buildings and others. The inventors claim it improves existing methods, which can only measure internal physical stress.

Hanwan Jiang, an assistant professor of civil engineering at UW-Platteville, partnered with an electrical engineer named Hanyu Zhan from New Mexico State University to develop the system. They’ve developed a “fully functional prototype,” completed testing in a laboratory and in the field, and applied for a patent on their invention.  Read the full story here.