New progress has been made in the research of new materials and monitoring technologies for intelligent sensing in road engineering

Recently, the team of Professor Yao Zhanyong of Qilu School of Transportation of Shandong University has made new progress in the research of new materials and monitoring technology of intelligent sensing in road engineering, and the relevant results have been published in the Journal of Chemical Engineering, one of the three most influential top journals in the field of engineering technology and chemistry and chemical engineering.

Self-sensing nanocomposite sensor has attracted widespread attention in road engineering monitoring and other fields due to its advantages of good durability, adjustable and controllable stiffness, while its sensitivity and signal stability are still limited by the uniform dispersion of internal nano-conductive filler. Therefore, how to improve the strong agglomeration effect of nanopackers and improve their dispersion order in the polymer matrix is an urgent problem to be solved in the development of high-performance sensitive sensors.

In this study, a directional three-dimensional conductive network construction strategy based on microsphere self-assembly array and covalent modification is proposed. The research team covalently assembled carbon nanotubes on the surface of polystyrene microspheres through amidation reaction, and synchronously realized the orderly dispersion of nanofillers with the help of the ordered self-arrangement effect of microspheres, so as to construct a 3D conductive network orientation system. The research team explored the sensing mechanism of percolation effect of sensitive materials and verified the reliability of high-precision perception of microstrains.

The results show that the developed sensitive materials have excellent performance in sensitivity, sensing range, response speed and durability, and can achieve accurate, real-time and stable acquisition of important traffic information such as traffic volume, vehicle speed and axle number. This technology provides new ideas and methods for the development of high-precision sensitive sensors, and is expected to open up new ways for structural health monitoring.

Directional three-dimensional conductive network based on microsphere self-assembly array and covalent modification Photo courtesy of Shandong University

The intelligence of roads is one of the important development directions of intelligent transportation. In the whole life cycle of road engineering, to accurately grasp the performance, working status and traffic information of asphalt pavement, it is necessary for the road surface to have intelligent facilities with active perception, automatic analysis, autonomous adaptation, dynamic interaction and continuous energy supply.

According to reports, the existing pavement structure layer mechanical detection sensors at home and abroad are mainly scientific research technology, which is costly and difficult to apply on a large scale in engineering. Therefore, the sensors and monitoring technologies that are reliable and cost-effective and can be used for the whole life perception of pavement structures have become the technical bottlenecks in the field of road engineering to carry out pavement design, technical management, maintenance and repair decisions.

Based on these industry technical problems, Yao Zhanyong’s team proposed a new monitoring and sensing technology system based on composite sensitive materials. After more than ten years of technical research, the team has successfully independently developed a series of road monitoring sensing components based on composite sensitive sensing technology, built an intelligent monitoring system for long-term road performance, realized real-time perception and safety early warning of road engineering multiphysics service status parameters, and provided data for comprehensive regulation and control of information such as health monitoring for smart roads based on big data analysis, supporting the development of intelligent transportation infrastructure.

The research work has been supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province, the Shandong Transportation Science and Technology Plan Project, the Jinan Scientific Research Leader Studio “Road Intelligent Monitoring and Perception and Intelligent Application Research”, and the cooperation support of Shandong Expressway Group, Shandong Transportation Planning and Design Institute, Shandong Transportation Research Institute and other units. (Source: China Science News, Liao Yang, Che Huiqing)

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