Design of Scaled Bridge Prototype for Energy Harvesting Testing

Paul Cahill, Giuseppina Amato, Nathan Jackson, Alan Mathewson, Vikram Pakrashi

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    Energy harvesting from ambient vibration is a promising field, especially for applications in larger infrastructures such as bridges. These structures are more frequently monitored for damage detection because of their extended life, increased traffic load and environmental deterioration. In this regard, the possibility of sourcing the power necessary for the sensors from devices embedded in the structure, thus cutting the cost due to the management of battery replacing over the lifespan of the structure, is particularly attracting. Among others, piezoelectric devices have proven to be especially effective and easy to apply since they can be bonded to existing host structure. For these devices the energy harvesting capacity is achieved directly from the variation in the strain conditions from the surface of the structure. However these systems need to undergo significant research for optimisation of their harvesting capacity and for assessing the feasibility of application to various ranges of bridge span and load. In this regard scaled bridge prototypes can be effectively used not only to assess numerical models and studies in an inexpensive and repeatable way but also to test the electronic devices under realistic field conditions. In this paper the theory of physical similitude is applied to the design of bridge beams with embedded energy harvesting systems and health monitoring sensors. It will show both how bridge beams can be scaled in such a way to apply and test energy harvesting systems and 2) how experimental data from existing bridges can be applied to prototypes in a laboratory environment. The study will be used for assessing the reliability of the system over a train bridge case study undergoing a set load cycles and induced localised damage.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2014
    EventCivil Engineering Research in Ireland Conference (CERAI) - QUB, Belfast, United Kingdom
    Duration: 28 Aug 201429 Aug 2014


    ConferenceCivil Engineering Research in Ireland Conference (CERAI)
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


    • Energy Harvesting; Structural Health Monitoring; Experimental Analysis.


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