Corrosion of structures is one of the leading causes of failure or premature deterioration of steel structures. Monitoring of critical areas of structures is often carried out at intervals using ultrasonic thickness gauges, but this is not always possible in extreme conditions. The use of permanently attached ultrasonic sensors has become more common recently but these have to be attached to the structure with mechanical devices which can relax and limit the attachment life.
TWI developed a concept of using a magnetic device which would both attach itself to a steel structure and use the magnetism to measure thickness. The concept was developed to a prototype device with wireless data transmission, however further development could be carried out to improve the accuracy and to extend the range of applications of the device.
• Modification and enhancement of electronics design and development of novel signal processing algorithms to improve the signal to noise ratio of the original system.
• Investigation and design of energy harvesting as a means of power supply to the sensor electronics rather than batteries, allowing for a permanent, low maintenance installation.
• Modelling and design of coil configurations to improve the senor sensitivity to small changes.
• Once the influence of magnetic properties of the carbon steel have been stablished a system should be designed to relate the magnetic field readings to the thickness measurement of carbon steel plates.
• A study of the magnetic properties of different steels will be required in order to study the influence of such parameters on the system response
Experimental work testing each sensor in its environment would be needed to verify the models and establish the thickness accuracy.
This research work requires dedicated signal processing electronic, finite element modelling and mathematical algorithm development skills. Extensive experimental tests need to carried out which can be a validation for the models and improvement of the system.
About Industrial Sponsor
The Lloyd’s Register Foundation funds the advancement of engineer-related education and research and supports work that enhances safety of life at sea, on land and in the air, because life matters. Lloyd’s Register Foundation is partly funded by the profits of their trading arm Lloyd’s Register Group Limited, a global engineering, technical and business services organisation.
Candidates should have a relevant degree at 2.1 minimum, or an equivalent overseas degree in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering or another scientific field that includes digital signal processing. Candidates with suitable work experience and strong capacity in machine learning, programming or signal processing are particularly welcome to apply. Overseas applicants should also submit IELTS results (minimum 6.5) if applicable.
NSIRC is a state-of-the-art postgraduate engineering facility established and managed by structural integrity specialist TWI, working closely with lead academic partner Brunel University, the universities of Cambridge, Manchester, Loughborough, Birmingham, Leicester and a number of leading industrial partners. NSIRC aims to deliver cutting edge research and highly qualified personnel to its key industrial partners. http://www.nsirc.com/