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Researchers at the University of Maryland's Clark School of Engineering have been awarded a grant from the Maryland Innovation Initiative, a new measure passed by the Maryland General Assembly that commits approximately $6 million to help increase the commercialization of university research.

The project will advance the patent-pending Scour Monitoring and Detection (SMD) technology for the real-time detection of bridge scour that is being developed at the University of Maryland in collaboration with researchers at the Michigan Technological University. The PI for the project is Minta Martin Professor and Chair of the Aerospace Engineering Department Dr. Norman Wereley. He will be working with Professor and Associate Dean for Research Dr. Alison Flatau on the project.

Bridge scour is the removal of sediment such as sand and rocks from around bridge abutments or piers, which is usually caused by swiftly moving water. As scour is a leading cause of failure for bridges in the U.S., there is a significant need for this product. An estimated 57% of bridge failures are caused by hydraulic forces, according to the New York State Department of Transportation.

In addition to reducing current inspection costs, the use of this SMD technology for the early detection of bridge scour will allow bridge owners to intervene with remediation measures prior to bridge failure. The SMD sensor post approach is a significant improvement over existing technology, which is still primarily focused on manual inspections. The new technology provides continuous monitoring at a relatively low cost.

The proposed pre-commercialization research addresses the need to demonstrate that University of Maryland technology can be implemented at full-scale bridge sites, where nominal water depths exceed several feet and scour can exceed tens of feet. The research is an applied investigation into adaptation of processes and hardware employed in the drilling of wells for the installation of SMD sensor posts, as well as into design modification/improvements to the sensor posts needed for deployment.

The new Maryland Innovation Initiative initiative is a collaboration between the state and five Maryland universities, including the University of Maryland, College Park; Johns Hopkins University; University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and Morgan State University. The Maryland Technology Development Corporation administers the program, which is focused on promoting the commercialization of research and facilitating technology transfer from university labs to start-up companies.

For more information about the Maryland Innovation Initiative, please visit:  http://tedco.md/program/the-maryland-innovation-initiative-mii/

 



March 12, 2013


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