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Proceedings Paper

Continuous fatigue crack monitoring of bridges: Long-Term Electrochemical Fatigue Sensor (LTEFS)
Author(s): Monty A. Moshier; Levi Nelson; Ryan Brinkerhoff; Marybeth Miceli
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Paper Abstract

Fatigue cracks in steel bridges degrade the load-carrying capacity of these structures. Fatigue damage accumulation caused by the repetitive loading of everyday truck traffic can cause small fatigue cracks initiate. Understanding the growth of these fatigue cracks is critical to the safety and reliability of our transportation infrastructure. However, modeling fatigue in bridges is difficult due to the nature of the loading and variations in connection integrity. When fatigue cracks reach critical lengths failures occur causing partial or full closures, emergency repairs, and even full structural failure. Given the aging US highway and the trend towards asset management and life extension, the need for reliable, cost effective sensors and monitoring technologies to alert bridge owners when fatigue cracks are growing is higher than ever.

In this study, an innovative Long-Term Electrochemical Fatigue Sensor (LTEFS) has been developed and introduced to meet the growing NDT marketplace demand for sensors that have the ability to continuously monitor fatigue cracks. The performance of the LTEFS has been studied in the laboratory and in the field. Data was collected using machined specimens with different lengths of naturally initiated fatigue cracks, applied stress levels, applied stress ratios, and for both sinusoidal and real-life bridge spectrum type loading. The laboratory data was evaluated and used to develop an empirically based algorithm used for crack detection. Additionally, beta-tests on a real bridge structure has been completed. These studies have conclusively demonstrated that LTEFS holds great potential for long-term monitoring of fatigue cracks in steel structures

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 April 2016
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 9799, Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2016, 97990F (15 April 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2219633
Show Author Affiliations
Monty A. Moshier, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ. (United States)
Levi Nelson, Metal Fatigue Solutions (United States)
Ryan Brinkerhoff, Metal Fatigue Solutions (United States)
Marybeth Miceli, Miceli Infrastructure Consulting LLC (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9799:
Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2016
Gyuhae Park, Editor(s)

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