A hybrid wireless sensor network for acoustic emission testing in SHM

Christian Grosse*, Greg McLaskey, Sebastian Bachmaier, Steven D. Glaser, Markus Krüger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Acoustic emission techniques (AET) have a lot of potential in structural health monitoring for example to detect cracks or wire breaks. However, the number of actual applications of conventional wired AET on structures is limited due to the expensive and time consuming installation process. Wires are also vulnerable to damage and vandalisms. Wireless systems instead are easy to be attached to structures, scalable and cost efficient. A hybrid sensor network system is presented being able to use any kind of commercial available AE sensor controlled by a sensor node. In addition micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) can be used as sensors measuring for example temperature, humidity or strain. The network combines multi-hop data transmission techniques with efficient data pre-processing in the nodes. The data processing of different sensor data prior to energy consuming radio transmission is an important feature to enable wireless networking. Moreover, clusters of sensor nodes are formed within the network to compare the pre-processed data. In this way it is possible to limit the data transfer through the network and to the sink as well as the amount of data to be reviewed by the owner. In particular, this paper deals with the optimization of the network to record different type of data including AE data. The basic principles of a wireless monitoring system equipped with MEMS sensors is presented along with a first prototype able to record temperature, moisture, strain and other data continuously. The extraction of relevant information out of the recorded AE data in terms of array data processing is presented in a second paper by McLaskey et al. in these proceedings. Using these two techniques, monitoring of large structures in civil engineering becomes very efficient.

Original languageEnglish
Article number693238
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventSensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2008 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 10 Mar 200813 Mar 2008


  • Acoustic emission
  • MEMS
  • Structural health monitoring
  • Wireless sensor networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'A hybrid wireless sensor network for acoustic emission testing in SHM'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this