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Long range inspection and condition monitoring of rails using guided waves (Monitorail)
Start date: Feb 1, 2011, End date: Jan 31, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The objective of MONITORAIL is to develop a cost effective long range ultrasonic inspection and also a wireless condition monitoring system in order to improve and better maintain the European railway system for better efficiency and safety. This will be carried out through the development of the Long Range Ultrasonic technology which has a certain number of advantages: sufficient inspection time, cost compared to the conventional ultrasonic testing, 100% inspection coverage (rail’s head, web and the foot). This project will develop a guided wave LRUT system not only for rail inspection but also for real time monitoring of the rail and to create an intelligent railway infrastructure. Flexible sensors will be embedded in the railways and a collection data system will be developed and integrated on the existent systems. This will also extend the life of the materials through early repair of rail tracks. The rail track is a natural wave guide where waves could easily propagate for long distance and detect defects in different area such as the web the head and the foot. Moreover long lengths of rail track could be detected at once making this a cost efficient technique for continuous monitoring. The system will offers 100% coverage up to 50m from one single location. Multiple sensors will be used to cover long distance inspection. Significant technical issues need to be addressed and solved before this technology can be considered a viable and industrial solution. The prototype demonstrations to date have shown promising results but have been limited to static testing. Any loss of signal or momentary surface interference results in a signal that is similar to that of a defect, thus the potential of false positive indications is high, which could severely impact the efficiency of overall inspection. Furthermore the potential of permanently mounted sensors will be investigated for critical areas of the rail network.
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