Structural Health Monitoring of Bridges

Source Organization:
Principal Investigator:Jacobo Bielak
PI Contact Information:Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh PA 15213
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Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization):
Total Dollars:$90,000
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Project Status:Complete
Subject Categories:Bridges and other structures; Education and training; Railroads; Research; Safety and human factors.
Abstract:The purpose of this project is to develop an indirect SHM approach, in which one makes use of vibration data collected from sensors installed on vehicles as they traverse the bridge or other infrastructure, rather than from sensors installed on the structure itself. Our vision is that by continuously collecting data from many vehicles, it will become possible to acquire a timely and comprehensive view of the status of the infrastructure a low cost and plan for its maintenance accordingly. An initial exploratory study based entirely on mathematical models and computational simulations allowed us to demonstrate the feasibility of our indirect monitoring approach for these mathematical models and the desirability of testing this technique on physical models. Subsequently we conducted an experimental study using, first a laboratory model, and then a field experiment in the East Campus Garage. These tests are relatively simple experiments; they have been used to examine and calibrate our classification methodology and have been an attempt to create the type of scenario we might encounter later on. In order to examine actual damage conditions under a controlled setting, in 2014 we plan to conduct additional experiments with the lab model, in which we will gradually create increasingly large cracks in the beams and girders; (ii) We will complete the analysis of the data recorded during the East Campus Garage experiments; (iii) Our main focus during this period will be on the Light Rail Line. Since sudden damage to bridges occurs only sporadically, we will study damage in reverse; that is, in coordination with the Port Authority we will select bridges that are scheduled to be retrofitted and will examine whether we can verify with our methodology that changes occur to a bridge during the retrofit or repair from its initial damaged state; (iv) We plan to concentrate also on damage detection in the railway track on “the T.” Such damage is a much more common occurrence than bridge damage and of great interest to the railway industry. We expect that such damage will also affect the dynamic behavior of the train and that it might be possible to detect such changes from the accelerometer signals using the same general detection methodology we are developing for damage bridge detection.
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