Dr. David Flynn of the MIcroSystems Engineering Centre (MISEC) is leading PhD studies into Prognostics and Health Management. The focus of this work is to develop smart sensors for intelligent asset management, providing previously inaccessible data to end users and delivering this data as information, with respect to the remaining useful life of the asset. Two examples of this work are highlighted below.

Mr Robert Lyon sponsored by the Energy Training Partnership, company sponsor Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), is investigating the use of smart sensors on the distribution and transmission power networks. The image below represents the work relating to subsea power cable condition monitoring. Current state of the art utilises periodic dive and ROV inspections and maintenance is typically reactive based on when faults occur.

By developing a novel sensor unit concept and remaining useful life prediction algorithm the maintenance process and security of supply to the power network can be enhanced. Another application of Prognostics and Health Management utilising smart sensors is the use of a novel cavity sensor unit for detecting corrosion under insulation. Shown below is an image of the sensor unit developed by Mr David Herd, the sensor unit is attached to a gantry system for scanning the area of a surface with defects. Next to this figure is a screen shot of the typical data returned after Principal Component Analysis (PCA).

Typically corrosion testing is only able to monitor metallic materials and can utilise destructive and invasive methods that generally only provide one point of analysis on the asset under test. This new technology will assess metals and dielectrics and can be deployed for remote scanning enabling an assessment of the overall structure.