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Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Transforming infrastructure through smarter information
CSIC PhD student reaches finals of British Tunnelling Society Harding Prize 2015

CSIC PhD student Matthew Wilcock is one of three finalists invited to present their papers at the Institution of Civil Engineers, for the British Tunnelling Society Harding Prize 2015.


Matthew worked in collaboration with CSIC Industry Partner, Costain, to instrument a number of segments on National Grid’s 32km London Power Tunnels project using innovative distributed optical fibre strain sensing technology. His paper detailing the work caught the eye of the judging panel for this annual award.

By embedding a simple fibre optic cable within the tunnel lining segments as part of the manufacture process, a picture of strain history can be gathered from casting through to curing, handling and placement, enabling the complex loading regime to be better understood.

Matthew’s paper starts to examine and interpret data to gain an understanding of time-dependant soil/structure interaction. This data may shed new light on current design assumptions, leading to future optimisation – less material, lower carbon footprint and cost savings.

Mark Farmer, Project Engineer, London Power Tunnels, National Grid, said: “Developing new technology and methods for monitoring the structural health of tunnels is expected to be of great benefit to National Grid in the future, using techniques that can potentially be further adapted to a broad range of infrastructure asset monitoring.”

The final presentations will take place on Thursday 16th April at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London and the winner will be announced on the night. For more information click here