PRIME™ technology enables asset owners to 'see inside' vulnerable earthworks, and delivers automated updates on condition changes providing early warnings of asset deterioration.
Driven by the increasing number and severity of failures in flood defences, transportation and utilities earthworks, PRIME™ was developed by the BGS Geophysical Tomography Team when looking for solutions to better manage earthworks assets. Combining state-of-the-art geophysical ground imaging technology with innovative data telemetry and web portal access, PRIME™ is the new generation of ‘smart’ earthworks monitoring system using diagnostic methods routinely used in medical physics.
Professor Jonathan Chambers, principal geophysicist and leader of the BGS Geophysical Tomography Team, comments: “Many infrastructure assets were constructed a long time ago, to no recognisable engineering standards and often using less than appropriate materials. These assets, when put under environmental pressures such as excessive rainfall, can become challenging to manage. PRIME™ was developed to provide a remote condition monitoring and decision-support system for assessing the internal physical condition of safety critical geotechnical assets, such as embankments, cuttings and dams.”
The PRIME™ technology builds on non-invasive Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT), a geophysical imaging technique that is sensitive to compositional variations in the subsurface as well as changes in groundwater saturation and the presence of contaminants. PRIME can provide time-lapse volumetric information to reveal the internal composition and moisture driven changes within the asset. Combining this state-of-the-art technology with web portal access via SOCOTEC Monitoring’s Calyx™ Online Monitoring Software, enables the PRIME system to deliver reliable decision-support information directly to asset owners.
“PRIME™ is now ready for roll-out as a commercial service,” continues Jonathan. “The BGS is a research organisation and therefore we are not best placed to offer routine commercial monitoring operations, so we are thrilled to be working with SOCOTEC Monitoring, who will act as the exclusive delivery agent of PRIME™ in Europe, making this monitoring system available to the industry. The BGS will continue to consult on system design and data interpretation, as well as to develop the PRIME™ technology further.”
Nick Slater – SOCOTEC Monitoring’s monitoring services director, adds: “Having been an active member of the Steering Group which has helped to shape the PRIME™ technology, we are very excited to be working with the BGS to bring this to market. Our team is ideally placed to do this as we have expertise in installing and operating geotechnical monitoring systems, and we developed Calyx – our web-based data visualisation portal - to display PRIME™ data alongside conventional monitoring instrumentation.”
"PRIME™ represents a real step-change in the practice of proactive asset management,” continues Nick. “The vision for the development of PRIME™ was to make a low-cost, cutting-edge geophysical ground imaging technology which is relevant, useful and available to the geotechnical community. I’m pleased to say that the BGS has achieved this and we are working closely with them in identifying early adopters of the PRIME™ system.”
The BGS and SOCOTEC Monitoring would like to offer sincere thanks to all members of the PRIME™ Steering Group who, over the past five years have contributed significant insight to help inform the design and functionality of the PRIME™ system and kindly offered access to numerous sites to test the technology in real world environments.
Or, if you have a project which could benefit from using PRIME™, or would like to hear more about the features of the PRIME™ system then please call SOCOTEC Monitoring UK on 01825 701801 or contact us.