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Proceedings Paper

Global structural condition assessment of highway bridges by ambient vibration monitoring
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Paper Abstract

Structural condition assessment of highway bridges has long been relying on visual inspection, which, however, involves subjective judgment of the inspector and detects only local flaws. Local flaws might not affect the global performance of the bridge. By instrumenting bridges with accelerometers and other sensors, one is able to monitor ambient or forced vibration of the bridge and assess its global structural condition. Ambient vibration measurement outwits forced vibration measurement in that it requires no special test arrangement, such as traffic control or a heavy shaker. As a result, it can be continuously executed while the bridge is under its normal serving condition. For short-to mid-span highway bridges, ambient vibration is predominantly due to traffic excitation, inducing the bridge to vibrate mainly in vertical direction. Based on its physical nature, traffic excitation is modeled as moving loads from the passing vehicles whose arrivals and speeds are extracted from digital video. Traffic-induced vibration provides valuable information for assessing the health of super-structure, but is less sensitive to possible seismic damage in the sub-structure. During earthquakes, bridges are excited in all directions by short-duration un-stationary ground motion, and are expected to better reveal their sub-structure integrity. Therefore, traffic-induced and ground-motion-induced ambient vibration data are treated separately in this paper for different assessment objectives, because of the different characteristics and measurability of the excitation. By continuously monitoring the ambient vibration of the instrumented bridge, its global structural conditions of both super- and sub-structures can be evaluated with possible damage locations identified, which will aid local non-destructive evaluation or visual inspection to further localize and access the damage.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 May 2005
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 5769, Nondestructive Detection and Measurement for Homeland Security III, (9 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.600400
Show Author Affiliations
Maria Q. Feng, Univ. of California/Irvine (United States)
Yangbo Chen, Univ. of California/Irvine (United States)
Chin-An Tan, Wayne State Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5769:
Nondestructive Detection and Measurement for Homeland Security III
Aaron A. Diaz; A. Emin Aktan; H. Felix Wu; Steven R. Doctor; Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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