Researchers develop smart mold system capable of measuring concrete solidity using ultrasonic waves

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : October 7, 2022, 18:10 Updated : October 7, 2022, 18:35

[Courtesy of Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology]

SEOUL -- To prevent tragic accidents caused by unexpected building collapses, researchers have developed a smart mold system that measures the solidity of concrete using ultrasonic waves. Inspectors can immediately check the solidity using the internet of things-based mold system with smartphones.
A mold is a structure temporarily installed to create concrete structures into predetermined shapes. When the concrete hardens, the mold should be dismantled. However, it's been difficult to determine the exact time when the mold can be dismantled. Currently, the mold is removed after a certain period through indirect measurements or other empirical methods. It is difficult to open a mold frequently to check the solidity level.
In concrete placed at an outdoor construction site, different variables can take place depending on the temperature. There could be misjudgment over the hardening of concrete.
A research team led by Dr. Kim Yeong-jin at the Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT) created a smart mold system that flows ultrasonic waves to the concrete surface and checks the transmission speed to measure the concrete's solidity. Ultrasonic waves propagate faster as the concrete hardens. The smart system can be assembled or dismantled with a remotely controlled electric coupling device, not by the hands of human workers.
"The developed smart mold system will greatly contribute to solving safety accidents at construction sites and improving the quality of concrete structures," KICT president Kim Byung-seok said in a statement on October 6. After completing the prototyping of the system, the technology was transferred to Sunjin RCS, a machinery manufacturer for construction and mining, and Hyomyung ECS, a tunnel and railroad construction company. 
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