SECESTA project foresees the development of a network of sensors for the monitoring of volcanic ash for the air transport safety. The atmospheric dispersion of ash produced by the explosive activity of volcano Etna is an important risk factor for the eastern part of Sicily and in particular for the area of Catania. For this reason, PMF Research, in close collaboration with the University of Catania and some local research centres, develops this project aiming to implement a monitoring system of volcanic ash that could pinpoint the exact location of the cloud of volcanic ash in order to provide warnings and recommendations in timely aeronautical users.
The innovation consists in the adoption of the multisensory data fusion strategy, an innovative monitoring system which consists in extrapolating the information (in this case the quantity of volcanic ash) starting from the processing of the information coming from a series of independent sensors of different nature, but sensitive to the same measuring. The resulting high degree of redundancy guarantees a reliable measurement simultaneously with a strong fault tolerance.
During the course of the project the possibility of counting the number of particles sampled by the measurement system is also evaluated. The feasibility of this quantity estimate is evaluated on the basis of experimental tests in which advanced sensorial methods, such as optical sensors, are used, since the indirect estimate based on the evaluation of the volume occupied by the powders over a fixed time interval can be affected by the different particle sizes. Furthermore, it is necessary to equip the node with additional sensors for the estimation of meteorological and / or environmental factors (wind, rain, temperature, etc.), which are fundamental for improving the reliability of the mathematical models of volcanic ash diffusion.
Within this project, PMF Research is responsible for developing the software platform for the management of the information coming from the monitoring system. P.M.F. is also in charge of the dissemination activities and exploitation of project results to enhance air transport safety.