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­ci to Test Earthquake Damage Sensors in Newport

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UCI researcher Pai Chou

University of California Irvine researcher Pai Chou holds one of the earthquake sensors that will be placed in Newport Beach, CA.

Credit: Daniel A. Anderson / UCI

Researchers at UC Irvine are using sensor technology to test how water pipes are damaged in an earthquake, and the results could be used to build a public alert system for providing information to emergency responders. Pai Chou, an engineer and computer scientist, and Masanobu Shinozuka, an engineer, will place sensors on water pipes in Newport Beach along the Newport-Inglewood fault to detect vibration and sound changes, as well as relay the information to a central location for recording, processing and diagnostic analysis. The researchers will then test and calibrate the sensors by simulating and monitoring pressure changes that are equivalent to the levels in actual pipe damage. They envision a system that would allow users to track damage to pipes immediately, and early repair would help save money.

"The ultimate goal is to make such a public alert system similar to real-time traffic maps," says Chou by e-mail. "What we want to do is to make an optimized system so that they will perform well, consume low power, and be low cost — which is important if you want to deploy many units across the entire country if not all over the world."

From Orange County Register (CA)
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