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Design and Implementation of Smart Bearings to Measure Dead and Live Load Effects in an Aged Long Span Bridge

As part of a large research effort into load rating methods of aged long span structures, Drexel University has designed and is currently testing smart bridge bearings, which will be able to transmit in real-time the axial and bi-directional moment forces experienced by multiple elastomeric bearing assemblies throughout an aged multi-span steel truss structure (Figure 1). In conjunction with other methods which will provide the in-situ stresses of critical members, typical daily and weekly traffic responses as well as strain response due to seasonal effects, the smart bearings will provide crucial information regarding force paths, seating forces, vehicle weights and seasonal changes in bearing forces.

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