EDA Researchers publish on development of instrumentation system for Smart Condition Monitoring of Inflatable Rubber Dams

Inflatable Rubber Dam

Dr. Yonghui Hu, Research Associate, and Professor Yong Yan of the School of Engineering and Digital Arts, together with Dr. Christos Efstratiou of the School of Computing, have published an article entitled “Quantitative Shape Measurement of an Inflatable Rubber Dam Using an Array of Inertial Measurement Units” in a leading journal IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement.

The article was co-authored with a senior project engineer, David Vela-Orte, from Dyrhoff Limited based in Folkestone, a world-leading supplier of inflatable rubber dams and pneumatically-operated spillway gates. The new technology published is the first of its kind in the sector and will enable the smart continuous monitoring and control of rubber dams. A patent has been filed prior to the publication of this article.

Inflatable rubber dams are extensively used worldwide for the control of water level and flow in rivers and waterways. The flexible structure of rubber dams brings a range of benefits but also significant challenges in operation, including complex two-way loading-shape interaction and vibration under the excitation of various disturbances. A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between the University of Kent and Dyrhoff Limited has been supported by Innovate UK to develop a smart condition monitoring system for measuring the cross-sectional shape, height and vibration of rubber dams using inertial sensing techniques. It has been identified that the key to the success of the project is to reconstruct the cross-sectional shape using an array of inertial measurement units (IMUs) under both static and dynamic conditions. The height and vibration of the rubber dam can then be derived from the measured shape. An adaptive complementary filter algorithm has been developed to combine the measurements from accelerometers and gyroscopes in the IMUs for accurate orientation estimation. The IMU array is placed on the circumference of the dam and the tangent angles as a continuous function of the arc length are derived by interpolating the IMU readings at discrete locations. The cross-sectional shape is then reconstructed by integrating the tangent angle function along the circumference. The measurement system has been tested under laboratory conditions. Experimental results show that the measured and reference shapes agree well with each other under static conditions and significant improvement is achieved in comparison with an accelerometer-only approach under dynamic conditions. The measurement system enjoys a high degree of fault tolerance, being able to work almost normally with faulty IMU nodes.

Full details about the research article are available here: