Field Validation of Multipurpose Wireless Sensors for Bridge Assessment

Use of wireless sensors for Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) has been considered by many researchers. Wireless sensors have emerged as a promising technology since their installation is fast and they can reduce monitoring costs. However, power management, uncertainty in wireless connectivity, and data quality issues are some of the reported disadvantages in addition to common sensing issues such as ruggedness that is needed for field applications. In this paper, a suite of recently developed wireless sensors that were transformed from existing, proven and robust wired sensors is presented. The developed wireless sensing units were tested in the field on an operating 11-span viaduct to assess the potential for their implementation within a wireless based SHM framework for bridges and other structures. The performance of the proposed wireless sensors was mostly very promising. This study is funded by a Federal Highway Administration project that aims to ultimately present a wireless sensing system that can be implemented for both rapid structural bridge assessment as well as long-term SHM.

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