PolyU's Mega-Structure Diagnostic and Prognostic System gains international recognition

The Mega-Structure Diagnostic and Prognostic System developed by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has won the Special Prize and Gold Medal for its application in the Guangzhou New TV Tower at the 37th International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products in Geneva in early April.  This is yet another international recognition of PolyU's outstanding research achievements.

Being the landmark of the city, the Guangzhou New TV Tower will become the highest TV tower in the world with a total height of 610m, comprising a main tower of 454m and a 156m-high antenna.  Designed with functions for sightseeing, TV transmission and cultural entertainment, the Tower comprises a Ferries wheel, observatory decks, ceremony hall, 4D cinemas, revolving restaurants, open-air skywalk, etc.  To ensure safety during construction and operational performance during typhoons and earthquakes, an advanced monitoring system has been implemented for the first time in the supertall structure of the Tower by experts of the PolyU Department of Civil and Structural Engineering.  

PolyU Vice President (Academic Staffing and Resources) and leader of the project team Ir. Prof. Ko Jan-ming said, "the scale and design of mega-structures is bringing great challenges for civil engineers to secure structural and operational safety.  Nonetheless, our PolyU research team has been working to advance the technology and our research achievements have been recognized internationally."

"The Mega-Structure Diagnostic and Prognostic System, making use of the fusion of technologies from different disciplines, such as sensing, communication, information technology, signal processing, data management, system identification, etc., provides structural monitoring, control, maintenance and management for mega-structures and performs a complete health monitoring throughout its life-cycle.  The System does not only allow early identification of structural deterioration and damage for avoiding catastrophic structural failure, it also enables the assessment of structural safety immediately after unexpected disasters.  The monitoring system can be applied to mega-structures like high-rise buildings and long-span bridges," said Dr. Yi-qing Ni, Principal Investigator of the monitoring system and Associate Professor of PolyU Department of Civil and Structural Engineering.

Like the human nervous system, the monitoring system of the Tower is equipped with over 700 sensors, of which there are 16 different kinds, for continuous measurement of structural responses and applied loadings. Data will then be transmitted to the Data Processing and Control System for processing and analysis on a real-time basis.  Health assessment of the structure particularly after typhoons or earthquakes will be performed so as to ensure structural and operational safety.  Providing massive real-time data and evidence, the System offers a more cost-effective option for the operation and maintenance of the Tower in the long run.

The Guangzhou New TV Tower is the first structure that integrates the construction monitoring with long-term monitoring.  It is also the world's first high-rise building installed with real-time health diagnosis and prognosis system.  Supported by the Asian-Pacific Network of Centers for Research in Smart Structures Technology and the International Society for Structural Health Monitoring of Intelligent Infrastructure, the System has become an international benchmark for structural health monitoring.

PolyU offers a wide range of courses which directly meets industrial, commercial and community needs. It also provides the public and private sectors in Hong Kong with expanding range of consultancy, professional training and applied research services.