Feeling the strain

City University London’s School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences is involved in a new project to monitor strain in structures using new types of lightweight concrete.

The need for new lightweight, low-energy concrete and its use in advanced structures is of major importance to the construction industry because of its lower cost and the energy savings it provides. City will develop, install and test these structures with compact fibre optic sensor systems.

The project has a total funding value of over £2m from four industrial partners and the Technology Strategy Board. Partner organisations include Queen’s University, Belfast, and industry partners Macrete, ARUP, Creagh Concrete and Network Rail, which will provide half the funding for the project. The Technology Strategy Board will provide the other half.

According to City, this grant builds on previous funding including an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Platform grant, awarded three years ago to underpin the development of new initiatives in engineering.

City’s Prof Grattan said: ‘We are delighted with this new grant and the strong industry support for the application of City’s fibre optic sensing technology in these exciting and new areas.

He added: ‘Partnering with these organisations allows us to play our part in using low-energy and environmentally friendly techniques to create better structures to meet the demands of industry in the 21st century.’