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German Parking Garage Installs Moisture- and Corrosion-Sensing RFID Tags

The passive tags, embedded in the facility's cement supports and roof, can be read using a handheld device, to provide an early warning of any problems.
By Rhea Wessel
Oct 10, 2012Last month, the German city of Boppard completed the construction of a parking garage in which RFID-based sensors are embedded in the building's cement, in order to detect moisture and corrosion that can result in structural damage.

The passive tags with sensors—which were placed below the cement's surface and above reinforcement steel at select spots throughout the parking garage—can be read via a handheld device to detect the onset of corrosion or excessive moisture. This enables the city to repair the problem before it can harm the actual reinforcement steel.

One of the 15 RFID moisture sensors that were installed in the roof of the parking garage in Boppard

When steel in a building's supports becomes corroded, repairs can be extremely expensive, says Wolfgang Hill, the head of product development and technology at Selfsan Consult GmbH, an engineering consulting company in Boppard that co-developed the system. When repairs can be made before corrosion reaches that stage, he adds, the cost is only a fraction of that amount.

The so-called "CorroDec" corrosion-monitoring system was developed in cooperation with BS2 Sicherheitssysteme GmbH, in Boppard, which manufactures security and construction-monitoring solutions. The system detects corrosion in the event that a wire connected to the corrosion sensor becomes rusted, Hill explains, thereby causing a break in the electrical circuit. It can also detect corrosion if the reading distance begins to shorten, he adds.

The city of Boppard decided to install the sensors within its new parking garage, located near the city hall, in order to keep maintenance costs down over the long term. At other garages the city maintains, it has been faced with damaged cement, often due to salt in the melting snow and ice brought into the garages on the tires and undersides of vehicles that park there during winter.

The project is one of several for which Selfsan Consult has supplied the corrosion-sensing RFID system, manufactured by BS2. For instance, Hill says, some 150 sensors are embedded within the pavement at Frankfurt Airport, near a landing strip, to provide airport operators with an early warning of pavement corrosion that could prove dangerous for aircraft.

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