Development of a monitoring and warning system based on optical fiber sensing technology for masonry retaining walls and trees

Peichen Wu, Daoyuan Tan, Shaoqun Lin, Wenbo Chen, Jianhua Yin, Numan Malik, An Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Hong Kong has a long history of applying masonry retaining walls to provide horizontal platforms and stabilize man-made slopes. Due to the sub-tropical climate, some masonry retaining walls are colonized by trees. Extreme weather, such as typhoons and heavy rains, may cause rupture or root failure of those trees, thus resulting in instability of the retaining walls. A monitoring and warning system for the movement of masonry retaining walls and sway of trees has been designed with the application of fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensing technology. The monitoring system is also equipped with a solar power system and 4G data transmission devices. The key functions of the proposed monitoring system include remote sensing and data access, early warning, and real-time data visualization. The setups and working principles of the monitoring systems and related transducers are introduced. The feasibility, accuracy, serviceability and reliability of this monitoring system have been checked by in-site calibration tests and four-month monitoring. Besides, a two-level interface has been developed for data visualization. The monitoring results show that the monitored masonry retaining wall had a reversible movement up to 2.5 mm during the monitoring period. Besides, it is found that the locations of the maximum strain on trees depend on the crown spread of trees.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensing
  • Masonry retaining walls
  • Monitoring
  • Tree
  • Warning system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

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