An indirect bridge inspection method incorporating a wavelet-based damage indicator and pattern recognition

P.J. McGetrick, C.W. Kim

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    In recent years, there has been a move towards the development of indirect structural health monitoring (SHM)techniques for bridges; the low-cost vibration-based method presented in this paper is such an approach. It consists of the use of a moving vehicle fitted with accelerometers on its axles and incorporates wavelet analysis and statistical pattern recognition. The aim of the approach is to both detect and locate damage in bridges while reducing the need for direct instrumentation of the bridge. In theoretical simulations, a simplified vehicle-bridge interaction model is used to investigate the effectiveness of the approach in detecting damage in a bridge from vehicle accelerations. For this purpose, the accelerations are processed using a continuous wavelet transform as when the axle passes over a damaged section, any discontinuity in the signal would affect the wavelet coefficients. Based on these coefficients, a damage indicator is formulated which can distinguish between different damage levels. However, it is found to be difficult to quantify damage of varying levels when the vehicle’s transverse position is varied between bridge crossings. In a real bridge field experiment, damage was applied artificially to a steel truss bridge to test the effectiveness of the indirect approach in practice; for this purpose a two-axle van was driven across the bridge at constant speed. Both bridge and vehicle acceleration measurements were recorded. The dynamic properties of the test vehicle were identified initially via free vibration tests. It was found that the resulting damage indicators for the bridge and vehicle showed similar patterns, however, it was difficult to distinguish between different artificial damage scenarios.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 9th International Conference on Structural Dynamics, EURODYN 2014
    EditorsA. Cunha, E. Caetano, P. Ribeiro, G. Muller
    PublisherEuropean Association for Structural Dynamics
    Number of pages8
    ISBN (Print)9789727521654
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014
    Event9th International Conference on Structural Dynamics (EURODYN 2014) - Porto, Portugal
    Duration: 30 Jun 201402 Jul 2014


    Conference9th International Conference on Structural Dynamics (EURODYN 2014)
    Abbreviated titleEURODYN 2014


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