Methods for Sensing, Analysis and Computation of Loads and Distributed Damage in Bridges
2018-02-18T00:00:00Z (GMT) by
The worldwide aging of the infrastructure and the development of new technologies in the construction industry provided a need for structural health monitoring (SHM). SHM provides a tool for owners and researchers to assess the condition of a structure and monitor its behavior under real life conditions. Road transport and the related infrastructures are clearly an integral part of the economic, political, and social development of the western world. As an example, highway bridges as a major part of infrastructures can be greatly damaged by excessively heavy vehicles or severe environmental conditions. It is therefore, important to assure that such facilities are well maintained and function properly in order to avoid major failures or the need for costly repairs. In current thesis, it is attempted to innovate techniques in order to measure the vehicles loads affecting the bridge elements as well as damage detection methods to monitor the defects along the in-service bridge structural components. Bridge Weigh-in-Motion (BWIM) is using an existing bridge to weigh trucks while they are moving at full highway speeds. A new method of BWIM has been established in order to weigh the passing trucks relying on the shear strain measurements near the bridge abutments which differs from the flexural strain based traditional systems. The shear strain are measured using the rosettes sensors installed on the webs of bridge girders to directly measure the individual axle weights of trucks passing over the bridge abutments. Two concrete slab on steel girder bridges, and a box girder prestressed concrete with different structural types, span lengths, and different sizes were instrumented for the performance verification of the proposed BWIM system. A series of truck runs were implemented in the field to calibrate and evaluate the proposed BWIM system’s efficiency. In addition, current research formulated a reference-free distributed damage detection method in order to locate the defects that occur in structures under in-service operating conditions. The sensing method is developed on the basis of Brillouin scattering phenomena. It employs the dynamic distributed strain measurement data in order to sense the structural perturbations under in-service operations, i.e. bridges subjected to traffic loadings, or aircrafts during flights. The advantage of the method developed in this study is that it enables the structure to be monitored at any stage during its service life without the need for prior reference data. An experimental program was designed to investigate the feasibility of the proposed approach in detecting the locations of very small defects. Laboratory experiments were designed in order to simulate the effect of ambient conditions in bridges, especially in terms of realistic displacements, i.e. deflections occurring in highway bridges. In a following effort, a theoretical model was also investigated to analysis the strain transfer mechanism from the structure surface to the distributed optical fiber components in the presence of local defects. The main objective pertained to the accurate quantification of local defects sizes based on distributed monitoring of strains in large structural systems. The theoretical formulation simulated the strain distribution within the components of an optical fiber crossing over a single crack opening. The proposed model was formulated in a manner to quantify defects in the presence of structural vibration. Both linear and nonlinear mechanical characteristics of optical fiber components were also assumed in the formulation. The spatial resolution effect was further numerically implemented within the formulation in order to simulate the measurement configurations. An experimental program was designed for calibration as well as the validation of theoretical formulation. The experiments involved dynamic tests of a 15 meter long steel I beam with two fabricated defects with small opening displacements ranging between 50 and 550 microns.