Ultrasonic Sensors Enabling Early Detection of Emergency Trends and Analysis of Structure Inclination and Stability by Means of Highly Accurate Level Measurements

Leszek Ornoch , Paweł Popielski , Andrzej Olszewski , Adam Kasprzak

Building inclinations can be measured through the use of ultrasonic hydrostatic levelers. These are used to measure long-term relative displacements of vertical parts of structures and utilize the principle of communicating vessels (similar to the classic water scales). The presented ultrasonic displacement measurement technique was developed by Ultrasystem in the 1990s and was applied to several objects in Poland. Long-term measurements enabled the development of a model of object behavior under the influence of various factors. Among these are the annual cycle of temperature changes, fluctuating water levels, turbine chamber emptying, etc. Such a model can facilitate the prediction of failure based on the appearance of changes deviating from typical behavior (e.g., a much stronger dependence of the inclination as a function of the water level). The results obtained with the help of ultrasonic sensors enable the observation of subtle deformations of the object, which is valuable when developing and calibrating new models of the object (e.g., by means of the finite element method).

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