7.11 Smart-pipes, monitoring assets for efficient maintenance

The Dutch water distribution network consists of a vast amount of medium to large size pipes of different materials, requiring regular inspection and maintenance. Water companies are particularly showing an interest in inspection methods to assess the condition of their network, which represents a 15 billion Euro investment in the Netherlands alone. A new direction in this field of inspection methods is the development of a water distribution network that is able to monitor itself. In this project we want to acquire in-depth knowledge on the type of sensors that can deliver useful information about the pipe, how to integrate these sensors on or in a pipe and we want to look in more detail to processing data and so detecting material change in a pipe element. The measurements then serve to create a picture of the operation conditions of the water distribution network and subsequently to estimate the current condition of the network enabling for efficient replacement strategies promoting low digging activity, low raw material use, drinking water safety and quality and uninterrupted water delivery.

Research challenge
The first step in the research is explorative in nature: Initially, the question which sensors should be placed where and how many to get proper information should be answered. Aside from application of sensors on existing structures, also new measurement techniques may be developed, such as designs which integrate sensors already in the production stage. A big part lies in finding the relations between material parameters and measureable quantities, to be able to detect the end-of-life time of a part or to detect immediate malfunctioning.

We are looking for a candidate with a sound theoretical background in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science or similar at academic level.
- Experience or interest in one or more of the following: material science, electronics, signal processing and/or programming.
- Not afraid of experimental set-ups
We offer a PhD position in a young, stimulating, multi-disciplinary, scientific environment, where you will work closely together with many other (PhD) team players, active in physics, electronics, chemistry and biological sciences. Furthermore, you will work together with people from our enthusiastic and innovative member companies.

The research project is part of the Wetsus research theme Water Grids where Vitens (, Oasen (, PWN ( , Aquaint (, Brabant Water (, Wavin ( and Evides ( are active members.

Promotors: Tiedo Tinga (University of Twente, Engineering Technology (CTW)), Prof.dr. Paul Havinga (University of Twente, Engineering Technology, Electronics, Mathematics and Computer Science (EWI))
Co-promotors: Richard Loendersloot (CTW) and Dr. Nirvana Meratnia (EWI)
Wetsus supervisors: Doekle R. Yntema

For specific information, please contact Applications only through the website.

Please do NOT send your CV directly to this email address. Only complete applications sent via the website will be evaluated (How to Apply).

Wetsus, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

combining scientific excellence with commercial relevance