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Infotec Consulting

Country: United Kingdom
2 Projects, page 1 of 1
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/K021699/1
    Funder Contribution: 5,782,840 GBP
    Partners: MWH UK Ltd, Macleod Simmonds Ltd, Watershed Associates, UOW, PIPEHAWK PLC, Energy and Utilities Alliance, Network Rail, Utsi Electronics Ltd, Halcrow Group Limited, Leica Geosystems Ltd...

    The surface urban transport infrastructures - our roads, cycle ways, pedestrian areas, tramways and railways - are supported by the ground, and hence the properties of the ground must control to a significant degree their structural performance. The utility services infrastructure - the pipes and cables that deliver utility services to our homes and which supports urban living - is usually buried beneath our urban streets, that is it lies below the surface transport infrastructure (usually roads and paved pedestrian areas). It follows that streetworks to install, replace, repair or maintain these utility service pipes or cables using traditional trench excavations will disrupt traffic and people movement, and will often significantly damage the surface transport infrastructure and the ground on which it bears. It is clear, therefore, that the ground and physical (i.e. utility service and surface transport) infrastructures exist according to a symbiotic relationship: intervene physically in one, and the others are almost inevitably affected in some way, either immediately or in the future. Moreover the physical condition of the pipes and cables, of the ground and of the overlying road structure, is consequently of crucial importance in determining the nature and severity of the impacts that streetworks cause. Assessing the Underworld (ATU) aims to use geophysical sensors deployed both on the surface and inside water pipes to determine remotely (that is, without excavation) the condition of these urban assets. ATU builds on the highly successful Mapping the Underworld (MTU) project funded by EPSRC's first IDEAS Factory (or sandpit) and supported by many industry partners. The MTU sandpit brought together a team that has grown to be acknowledged as international leaders in this field. ATU introduces leaders in climate change, infrastructure policy, engineering sustainability and pipeline systems to the MTU team to take the research into a new sphere of influence as part of a 25-year vision to make streetworks more sustainable. ATU proposes to develop the geophysical sensors created in MTU to look for different targets: indications that the buried pipes and cables are showing signs of degradation or failure, indications that the road structure is showing signs of degradation (e.g. cracking, delamination or wetting) and indications that the ground has properties different to unaltered ground (e.g. wetted or eroded by leaking pipes, loosened by local trench excavations, wetted by water ingress through cracked road structures). For example, a deteriorated (fractured, laterally displaced, corroded or holed) pipe will give a different response to the geophysical sensors than a pristine pipe, while wetting of the adjacent soil or voids created by local erosion due to leakage from a water-bearing pipe will result in a different ground response to unaltered natural soil or fill. Similarly a deteriorated road (with vertical cracks, or with a wetted foundation) will give a different response to intact, coherent bound layers sitting on a properly drained foundation. Taking the information provided by the geophysical sensors and combining it with records for the pipes, cables and roads, and introducing deterioration models for these physical infrastructures knowing their age and recorded condition (where this information is available), will allow a means of predicting how they will react if a trench is dug in a particular road. In some cases alternative construction techniques could avert serious damage (e.g. water pipe bursts, road structural failure requiring complete reconstruction) or injury (gas pipe busts). Making this information available will be achieved by creating a Decision Support System for streetworks engineers. Finally, the full impacts to the economy, society and environment of streetworks will be modelled in a sustainability assessment framework so that the wider impacts of the works are made clear.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/M013294/1
    Funder Contribution: 35,513,900 GBP
    Partners: Defence Science & Tech Lab DSTL, ARKeX, Mechadyne International, Versyns Ventures, Knowledge Transfer Partnership, Aalto University, NERC British Geological Survey, University of Trento, GEM Electronics, RU...

    The Hub will create a seamless link between science and applications by building on our established knowledge exchange activities in quantum technologies. We will transform science into technology by developing new products, demonstrating their applications and advantages, and establishing a strong user base in diverse sectors. Our overarching ambition is to deliver a wide range of quantum sensors to underpin many new commercial applications. Our key objective is to ensure that the Hub's outputs will have been picked up by companies, or industry-led TSB projects, by the end of the funding period. The Hub will comprise: a strong fabrication component; quantum scientists with a demonstrated ability to combine scientific excellence with technological delivery; leading engineers with the broad collective expertise and connections required to develop and use new quantum sensors. We have identified, and actively involved, industry enablers to build a supply chain for quantum sensor technology. As well as direct physics connections to industry, the engineers provide strong links to relevant industrial users, thus providing information on industrial needs and enabling rapid prototype deployment in the field. To establish a coherent national collaborative effort, the Hub will include a UK network on quantum sensors and metrology, which will also exploit the connections that Prof Bongs and all Hub members have forged in Europe, the US and Asia. This inter-linkage ensures capture of the most advanced developments in quantum technology around the world for exploitation by the UK. Quantum sensors and metrology, plus some devices in quantum communication, are the only areas where laboratory prototypes have already proven superior to their best classical counterparts. This sets the stage, credibly, for rapid and disruptive applications emerging from the Hub. The selection of prototypes will be driven by commercial pull, i.e. each prototype project within the Hub must demonstrate, from the outset, industry or practitioner engagement from our engineering and/or industrial collaborators. We have strong industry support across several disciplines with the structures in place actively to manage technology and knowledge transfer to the industry sector. Particular roles are played by NPL and e2V. We will closely collaborate with NPL as metrology end-user on clock, magnetometer and potentially Watt balance developments with a lecturer-level Birmingham-NPL fellow contributed by Birmingham University and our PRDAs spending ~17 man-years in addition to 3-5 PhD students on these joint projects in the Advanced Metrology Laboratory/incubator space. E2v have a unique industrial manufacturing/R&D facility co-located within the School of Physics and Astronomy at Nottingham that has already catalysed the expansion of their activities into the Quantum Technology domain. Public Engagement conveying the Hub's breakthroughs will be a high priority - for example annually at the Royal Society Summer Exhibitions. In addition to cohort-training of 80 PhD students working within the Hub, the Hub will contribute to the training of ~500 PhD students via electronically-shared lectures (many already running within the e-learning graduate schools MPAGS, MEGS, SEPNET and SUPA) across the institutions within the Hub. The Hub will create an internationally-leading centre of excellence with major impact in the area of quantum sensors and metrology. To widen the impact of the Hub and ensure long-term sustainability, we will actively pursue European and other international collaborative funding for both underlying fundamental research and the technology development.