From beneath a concrete pour, this black circular sensor transmits data about the concrete’s strength levels through a cord plugged into an above-ground handheld device called a data logger. Engineers receive real-time data from this device through a smartphone app. (Image: Purdue University photo/Rebecca McElhoe)


Purdue University Researcher Luna Lu has developed technology that could replace methods the construction industry has been using for more than 100 years to test when concrete structures are ready to take on an external load.


Sensors developed by Luna Lu and her team are installed into the formwork of Interstate 35 in Texas. (Image: Luna Lu)

The invention, a sensor that allows concrete to “talk,” decreases construction time and how often concrete pavement needs repairs while also improving the road’s sustainability and cutting its carbon footprint. Embedded directly into a concrete pour, the sensor sends engineers more precise and consistent data about the concrete’s strength and need for repair than is possible with currently used tools and methods. The sensor communicates to engineers via smartphone app exactly when the pavement is strong enough to handle heavy traffic. The stronger the pavement is before being used by vehicles, the less often it will need to be repaired. The ability to instantly receive information about the concrete’s strength levels also allows roads to open to traffic on time or sooner following a fresh pour. Construction workers can install the sensors simply by tossing them onto the ground of the concrete formwork and covering them with concrete. Using the app, workers can receive information on real-time changes in the concrete strength for as long as the strength data is required. More than half of U.S. states with concrete interstate pavement have signed up to participate in a Federal Highway Administration pooled fund study to implement the sensors.


West Lafayette, IN


Concrete pavement is the most challenging road material to repair. By decreasing road repairs and construction timelines, this technology could reduce carbon dioxide that vehicles would have emitted while waiting in traffic to get around a construction site.


Lu founded WaveLogix in 2021 to manufacture the technology on a larger scale. It is on track to hit the market later this year as the REBEL Concrete Strength Sensing System, a product of WaveLogix.

For more information, contact Kayla Wiles at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; 765-494-2432.