Play Station Controls Guide Robot on Concrete Inspection Trips
Dr. Maria Guimaraes is a principal project manager in the Nuclear Sector at EPRI. Her research focuses on aging management and inspection of concrete structures. She earned a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering from the Universidad Nacional del Nordeste in Argentina, a master’s in mechanics and foundation engineering from the University of Newcastle in the United Kingdom, and a doctorate in civil and environmental engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Power generation infrastructure relies on numerous large concrete structures such as hydroelectric dams, cooling towers, and nuclear containments. Properly maintained concrete cooling, containment, and impoundment structures are essential for the long-term safety and operation of steam-electric power plants, hydropower facilities, and other industrial sites.
As infrastructure ages, more frequent and thorough inspections are required. Safety, cost, time savings, and the reliability of those inspections are intrinsically related to the method of deployment.
Current inspection methods are labor-intensive and rely on extensive scaffolding and rappelling for routine structural evaluations. When inspections need to be performed on large structures, deployment becomes critical in terms of setup challenges, time requirements, costs and safety.
A robotic inspection system, in contrast, would eliminate the need to use scaffolding or rappelling for routine structural evaluations, eliminating the associated setup challenges, time requirements, costs, and safety hazards. Its payload of advanced instrumentation would allow examination of the interior of concrete structures to locate voids, cracks, rebar corrosion, and other internal defects.