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Dr Alister Smith to discuss acoustic emission monitoring in upcoming Fellowship Inaugural Lecture series

On Tuesday 27 April, Dr Alister Smith - who holds a Philip Leverhulme Prize in Engineering - will present the next lecture of this year’s Fellowship Inaugural Lecture series.

Headshot of Dr Alister Smith outside

Dr Alister Smith

Organised by the Institute of Advanced Studies and the University's Research Staff Association, this series showcases Loughborough University’s Research Fellows, who present their cutting-edge research and outline their career to date.

In his talk entitled Listening to Infrastructure: Acoustic Emission Monitoring in Geotechnical Engineering, Dr Smith will discuss the urgent need for improved and affordable health monitoring capability to facilitate geotechnical infrastructure stewardship (eg slopes, foundations, dams and pipes) as a result of existing infrastructure assets deteriorating, and new assets being designed and constructed to withstand uncertain future conditions.

All infrastructure rests in or on the ground (ie soil). Proportions of energy dissipated during deformation of soil, soil-structural interactions and soil seepage processes are converted to heat and sound. The high-frequency (>10kHz) component of this sound energy is called acoustic emission (AE). It has been established that detected AE rates are proportional to rates of soil deformation and can be used to provide early information on deterioration and failure. AE instrumentation is now available for continuous and real-time geotechnical monitoring.

This presentation will introduce AE generation mechanisms and monitoring approaches in geotechnical engineering, it will describe the development and use of AE sensors for landslide early warning and detail on-going research to deliver AE monitoring solutions for a range of geotechnical applications such as buried pipelines and earth dams.

The presentation will also share details of Dr Smith’s journey towards securing a Phillip Leverhulme Prize.

Dr Alister Smith is a Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering in the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering. He leads the Listening to Infrastructure research programme, which is developing acoustic emission (AE) sensing technologies for health monitoring of buried infrastructure systems.

His research has been funded by a series of personal awards, including a Doctoral Prize Fellowship, an EPSRC Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Philip Leverhulme Prize in Engineering. He was a co-inventor of AE landslide early warning systems that have been commercialised by RST Instruments Ltd (Geo Acoustic Aware).

He is also a Co-Investigator of the EPSRC Programme Grant, ACHILLES, which is investigating the impacts of climate change on infrastructure earthworks. He has received multiple awards for his research and enterprise activities, including the Thomas Telford Premium and the Hawley Award for Engineering Innovation.

The lecture will take place online from 12.30pm-1.30pm.

For more information about the series, visit the dedicated Fellowship Inaugural Lectures website. To register a place for Dr Smith’s event, please fill out the online booking form.