Article Article
Bridge Cable Fracture Detection with Acoustic Emission Tests

Steel cables have been widely used in cable-stayed and suspension bridges since 100 years ago. Visual inspection for these bridges can be difficult, expensive, dangerous, and disruptive. Thus, acoustic monitoring has recently been applied to existing bridges as a non-intrusive inspection method. In this study, acoustic emission (AE) was used to understand and establish the correlation between fracture of a 20 ft. long high strength steel cable strand of seven wires and its induced acoustic feature. Strain gauges were deployed along the length of individual wires to understand the strain redistribution as a result of wire breakage and determine the influence length of the steel cable under tension. AE monitoring parameters (e.g. hits, energy, and counts) were utilized for fracture detection and localization. AE signals were also characterized with time-frequency analysis to understand the effects of different noise sources. Test results indicated that, strains along each wire of the cable change dramatically before and after each wire fracture, and the influence length of such a fracture is expected to be approximately 45 ft. when the cable is loaded below 35% of its breaking strength. AE was demonstrated to be an effective technique for wire fracture detection and localization.


1. Rens, Kevin L., Terry J. Wipf, and F. Wayne Klaiber. "Review of nondestructive evaluation techniques of civil infrastructure." Journal of performance of constructed facilities  11, no. 4 (1997): 152-160.

2. Paulson, P. O., and D. W. Cullington. "Evaluation of continuous acoustic monitoring as means of detecting failures in posttensioned and suspension bridges." In XIII FIP congress & exhibition . 1998.

3. Li, Dongsheng, and Jinping Ou. "Acoustic emission monitoring and critical failure identification of bridge cable damage." In The 15th International Symposium on: Smart Structures and Materials & Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring , pp. 69340J-69340J. International Society for Optics and Photonics, 2008.

4. Zejli, Hasnae, A. Laksimi, C. Tessier, L. Gaillet, and S. Benmedakhene. "Detection of the broken wires in the cables’ hidden parts (anchorings) by acoustic emission." In Advanced Materials Research , vol. 13, pp. 345-350. Trans Tech Publications, 2006

Usage Shares
Total Views
222 Page Views
Total Shares
0 Tweets
0 PDF Downloads
0 Facebook Shares
Total Usage