Parquet flooring at Monticello.

Parquet flooring at Monticello.

As we said last month, EVERYTHNG moves. Sometimes subtly, but with telling consequences. Let’s start with floors. No matter what material a floor is made of, no matter its underlayment, it moves. Even Thomas Jefferson knew this, and the parquet floors of Monticello, which he designed, adjust for the differential expansion and contraction of differing woods and grains as humidity and temperature vary with the seasons.

Automated warehouse.

Automated warehouse.

In commercial and industrial buildings, detecting the movement of flooring can be crucial to production. For example, in modern warehouses that use very tall, electronically-controlled, picking machinery to navigate between the shelving that extends to more than 40 feet, a small movement in the floor will cause the top of the picker to collide with the shelves. This is not only damaging to the equipment, but dangerous for those who ride on it. Periodic laser scanning can verify that the floors and the aisles above remain within tolerances. 

Engineers and material scientists invent new structures and building materials. Before any new design or material can be employed in construction it must be extensively tested, chemically and physically. One type of test includes building full-scale versions of components and measuring how they behave under load. One such test is underway in Southern Arizona where a team of engineers and scientists are testing a substitute for concrete. They are building small structures, about the size of a cabin, and they will place them under load until they collapse. All the while, laser scanning will measure all the deformities that may occur. This will provide unique information to the engineers, and it will speed the testing effort.

For the last example of the year, something outré. When you dig an underground tunnel, the surface is disturbed. Digging vibrates the ground and causes subsidence and other perturbations on the surface in a pattern that mimics the tunnel. Periodic laser scanning of the surface shows where the tunnel is, and where it’s going, and the rate of tunneling. And that is how we have surprised some smugglers as they emerged from their tunnel on this side of the US border.

Do you have questions about how this technology might be applied to your business or area of study? Give us a call or drop a line. (Smugglers excluded.)

3D laser scanning can detect the ground disturbances caused by tunneling.

3D laser scanning can detect the ground disturbances caused by tunneling.

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