A wavelet-based damage detection algorithm based on bridge acceleration response to a vehicle

David Hester, A. Gonzalez

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    138 Citations (Scopus)


    Previous research based on theoretical simulations has shown the potential of the wavelet transform to detect damage in a beam by analysing the time-deflection response due to a constant moving load. However, its application to identify damage from the response of a bridge to a vehicle raises a number of questions. Firstly, it may be difficult to record the difference in the deflection signal between a healthy and a slightly damaged structure to the required level of accuracy and high scanning frequencies in the field. Secondly, the bridge is going to have a road profile and it will be loaded by a sprung vehicle and time-varying forces rather than a constant load. Therefore, an algorithm based on a plot of wavelet coefficients versus time to detect damage (a singularity in the plot) appears to be very sensitive to noise. This paper addresses these questions by: (a) using the acceleration signal, instead of the deflection signal, (b) employing a vehicle-bridge finite element interaction model, and (c) developing a novel wavelet-based approach using wavelet energy content at each bridge section which proves to be more sensitive to damage than a wavelet coefficient line plot at a given scale as employed by others.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)145-166
    Number of pages22
    JournalMechanical Systems and Signal Processing
    Issue numbernull
    Early online date08 Jul 2011
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


    • Bridge, Damage detection, Wavelet, Moving Load, Dynamics, Acceleration

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Civil and Structural Engineering
    • Aerospace Engineering
    • Control and Systems Engineering
    • Computer Science Applications
    • Signal Processing


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