Henry L. Pierce Laboratory Seminar on Wednesday, December 6, 2023 with Prof. Zili Li

Wednesday, December 06, 2023 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Building 1, Room 1-131
33 MASSACHUSETTS AVE, Cambridge, MA 02139

Please join us on Wednesday, December 6, 2023 for The Pierce Seminar at 4 PM in Room 1-131 with Prof. Zili Li. 

Abstract Title: New digital technologies for large-scale CERN tunnel network 



The world-famous Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator is housed in a large-scale underground tunnel network at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN). Over 70 kilometres of deep CERN tunnels were excavated four decades ago lined with spray shotcrete, posing a risk to tunnel serviceability for high-accuracy particle collision experiments.

In this study, a network of Distributed Fibre Optic Sensing (DFOS) cables was deployed around critical Tunnel TT10 section to measure the deformation development of tunnel structure with time. In comparison to conventional discrete point sensors, DFOS enables spatially continuous strain measurement along a single standard optical fibre over miles with better resistance to corrosion, electromagnetic interference and etc. In addition, a series of CERN robotics (e.g., automatic drone system in GNSS-denied underground environment, CERNbot) have gathered a large of amount of tunnel image data, which was then analysed using deep learning algorithms. Both DFOS and image big data brings new insights into tunnel ageing conditions and deformation modes at different sections than previously available. Results show that the proposed monitoring system allows the identification of severe crack-damaged tunnel sections and specific deformation patterns for the geotechnical & structural assessment of large-scale tunnel network.



Dr. Zili Li is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Civil Engineering Discipline, School of Engineering and Architecture at University College Cork, and a Visiting Scientist / Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA. He holds a PhD degree from the University of Cambridge, UK and a bachelor degree from Tongji University, China. He used to be a Research Associate at the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC) in the University of Cambridge, UK, and also worked at the Centre for Underground Construction and Tunnelling, Colorado School of Mines, USA.

Since his employment at UCC in 2016, he has secured €2.6+ million research grant as the PI, including prestigious SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme (€612.8k total budget) (top-tier independent research grant). He acted as the Chair of ISMLG 2023 (the 4th International Symposium of Machine Learning and Big Data in Geoscience) at University College Cork, Ireland https://ismlg2023.com. Dr. Li is a Leading PI in the monitoring and assessment of world-class CERN tunnel projects (€500k+) for Large Hardon Collider (LHC), funded by The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) at Geneva Switzerland. He delivered an invited Keynote speaker in Civil Engineering Research Ireland (CERI) Conference 2020, Ireland, a top-tier honour in Irish civil engineering society. Most recently, Dr. Li received Bright Spark Lecture Award (2023) in International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE). Currently, he is leading a geoengineering group of 3 Postdocs, 9 PhDs and 2 visiting PhDs at University College Cork, Ireland.


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