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Acoustic Emission Studies for Anchor Point-to-Anchor Point Assessment of Varina-Enon Bridge Stay Cable

The Varina-Enon Bridge, a cable stayed bridge, carries I-295 across the James River and crosses over the shipping channel that leads to the Richmond (Virginia) Marine Terminal. Acoustic emission (AE) was used to assess the condition (such as corrosion, crack expansion and rubbing, wire breaks, and similar active defects) of strands on a single stay-cable, from anchorage point to anchorage point. 16 AE sensors were installed at strategic locations in between the anchorage points and in the saddle area. Testing was performed over short durations of time during periods that included low traffic volumes (acoustically quiet) and high traffic volumes (acoustically noisy). AEWin computer software was used to determine the source and location of the acoustic event. AE events generated inside the pylon in the saddle region of the test cable were detected. Although AE responses from the stay-cable did not contain any signatures of rubbing from previously broken cable andor breaking during the testing period, AE signals were detected from the anchorage region. This study reports the results of a short term evaluation of the test stay cable using a 16 channel AE data acquisition (DAQ) system installed with a wireless modem for remote data transmission. Data analysis reveals AE activity in the saddle area and in the vicinity of the anchor points

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