A Parametric Study of a Drive by Bridge Inspection System Based on the Morlet Wavelet

P.J. McGetrick, C.W. Kim

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    47 Citations (Scopus)
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    Many of the bridges currently in use worldwide are approaching the end of their design lives. However, rehabilitating and extending the lives of these structures raises important safety issues. There is also a need for increased monitoring which has considerable cost implications for bridge management systems. Existing structural health monitoring (SHM) techniques include vibration-based approaches which typically involve direct instrumentation of the bridge and are important as they can indicate the deterioration of the bridge condition. However, they can be labour intensive and expensive. In the past decade, alternative indirect vibration-based approaches which utilise the response of a vehicle passing over a bridge have been developed. This paper investigates such an approach; a low-cost approach for the monitoring of bridge structures which consists of the use of a vehicle fitted with accelerometers on its axles. The approach aims to detect damage in the bridge while obviating the need for direct instrumentation of the bridge. Here, the effectiveness of the approach in detecting damage in a bridge is investigated using a simplified vehicle-bridge interaction (VBI) model in theoretical simulations and a scaled VBI model in a laboratory experiment. In order to identify the existence and location of damage, the vehicle accelerations are recorded and processed using a continuous Morlet wavelet transform and a damage index is established. A parametric study is carried out to investigate the effect of parameters such as the bridge span length, vehicle speed, vehicle mass, damage level and road surface roughness on the accuracy of results.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)262-269
    Number of pages8
    JournalKey Engineering Materials
    Early online date31 Jul 2013
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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