Damage Detection of Highway Bridges Using Strain and Wireless Acceleration Measurements

Increased traffic levels and loading have placed great demands on the nation’s transportation infrastructure, particularly on the inventory of aging highway bridges. This paper discusses the deployment of a wireless sensor system for diagnostic health monitoring of a bridge superstructure undergoing controlled progressive damage. The testing involved a dense deployment of accelerometers and strain transducers on one span of a three spans superstructure. During the testing, diaphragm connections were severed and support conditions were altered to different levels. Load testing parameters from strain measurements, most notably load distribution factors and neutral axis locations, were employed to detect a change in load shedding behavior and structural capacity of the bridge span. A prediction model was developed from the baseline acceleration data to create a predictive response which was compared to the experimental findings. The algorithms showed a positive response to detecting various levels of damage to the bridge.

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