Civil Engineering

UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing researcher wins Institution for Civil Engineering award

24th November 2020

We are delighted to announce that Dr Asaad Faramarzi, a researcher at the University of Birmingham-led UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing, was awarded the Studies and Research prize at the 2020 Institution for Civil Engineering (ICE) West Midlands annual awards.

Dr Faramarzi was awarded the prize for Ground and Underground Infrastructure Damage Evaluation (GUIDE), an EPSRC-funded project led by the University of Birmingham and supported by Severn Trent Water, British Geological Survey and Jacobs. The project offers a unique and inexpensive yet highly accurate method to both locating and assessing the condition of pipes and their supporting ground.

GUIDE aims to determine the presence and location of voids adjacent to pipes, typical of leakage problems, therefore providing early warning of potentially catastrophic failure such as water main burst, and collapse of the ground, which can lead to fatal injuries. The primary outcome of the project has been a modelling tool that assesses ground conditions and critical characteristics, such as a pipe’s presence. Led by Dr Faramarzi, the project team has successfully demonstrated the benefits through a set of laboratory experiments, and numerical modelling.

Water pipe burst

This method uses data from geophysical surveys at ground level to better understand the characteristics of the subsurface, and comprises an in-built algorithm enabling users to perform an advanced optimisation procedure, using finite element analysis of the ground and buried infrastructure, combined with artificial intelligence (AI) to capture the conditions accurately.

The use of AI allows complex modelling scenario assessment incorporating a large variable, where conventional algorithms could not compete. This has propelled the GUIDE project into a leading position offering a novel solution to capture essential underground data.

About the award, Dr Faramarzi said: “I am delighted to receive this award which recognises our close collaboration with leading industries in this field and demonstrate the impact of our research at the University of Birmingham and the QT Hub Sensors and Timing.”

Hub researchers have received ICE awards for three consecutive years since 2018. In the previous two years, Professor Nicole Metje was also presented with the Research and Studies awards for QT-PRI (Quantum Technology – Potential for Railway Infrastructure) and FINDIT (Finding Infrastructure with Non-Destructive Testing).

For more information on the GUIDE project, please contact Dr Asaad Faramarzi at [email protected].