About ISIS Canada

ISIS Canada Research Network (Intelligent Sensing for Innovative Structures) was established in 1995 to provide civil engineers with smarter ways to build, repair and monitor structures using high-strength, non-corroding, fibre reinforced polymers (FRPs) and fibre optic sensors (FOSs). It was created by the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program and encompasses 14 universities, 30 Project Leaders (principal researchers), 275 researchers, 190 associated organizations, and 45 multidisciplinary demonstration projects. The Administration Centre headquarters for ISIS Canada is at the University of Manitoba.

The mandate of ISIS Canada is to advance civil engineering to a world leadership position, through the development and application of FRPs and integrated intelligent FOS technologies, for the benefit of Canadians through innovative and intelligent infrastructure. The objective is to revolutionize the design of civil engineering structures over the next decade. The mandate has been extended with $9.6 million in funding from 2006 to 2009.

The research program has achieved many firsts. A new concept for long-gauge FOSs has been developed that incorporates mirrored optical fibres in place of more conventional Bragg gratings. Associated advanced measurement instruments have been developed for both the long gauge and Bragg sensor systems. At the same time, the first structural strain measurements have been demonstrated using a Brillouin sensor system, resulting in a narrow spatial resolution not achieved before. Major accomplishments and impacts of the ISIS Canada Network have been many and varied.

The focus of ISIS Canada 2006 to 2009 is to maximize the benefits of ISIS research by transferring the technology to the user sector through structural health monitoring field demonstration projects. Research emphasis is being placed on filling the gaps of current knowledge, which will overcome continuing barriers to widespread use of ISIS technologies by 2010.

Structural health monitoring continues to advance from conventional strain gauges to FOSs to major breakthroughs in wireless remote monitoring and the concept of Civionics. Several years of data are now available on the durability and performance of installed sensor systems.

Innovative structures and components continue to be designed and tested under actual field conditions, ever expanding the envelope of conventional practice. Some of the innovations include FRP/concrete hybrid systems, filament-wound bridge decks and poles, steel-free concrete bridge decks, glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) tubes filled with concrete, FRP/stainless steel hybrid components, and the use of FRPs to rehabilitate masonry structures, which is particularly applicable for historical buildings.

Training of highly qualified personnel is a priority for the ISIS Network because, eventually, it will be the graduates who bring about the desired technology changes in the infrastructure sector. New ways of enhancing student education and practical training are continuously pursued. They have no difficulty finding jobs in their chosen field upon graduation. This component of the Network is evolving as a major accomplishment.

Reflections on the Development and Use of FRPs and SHM in Canada

Meshing Research and Civionics to Revolutionize the Design of Civil Engineering Infrastructure