Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Marvin Halling


Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) is a promising tool for condition assessment of bridge structures. SHM of bridges can be performed for different purposes in long or short-term. A few aspects of short- and long-term monitoring of highway bridges are addressed in this research.

Without quantifying environmental effects, applying vibration-based damage detection techniques may result in false damage identification. As part of a long-term monitoring project, the effect of temperature on vibrational characteristics of two continuously monitored bridges are studied. Natural frequencies of the structures are identified from ambient vibration data using the Natural Excitation Technique (NExT) along with the Eigen System Realization (ERA) algorithm. Variability of identified natural frequencies is investigated based on statistical properties of identified frequencies. Different statistical models are tested and the most accurate model is selected to remove the effect of temperature from the identified frequencies. After removing temperature effects, different damage cases are simulated on calibrated finite-element models. Comparing the effect of simulated damages on natural frequencies showed what levels of damage could be detected with this method.

Evaluating traffic loads can be helpful to different areas including bridge design and assessment, pavement design and maintenance, fatigue analysis, economic studies and enforcement of legal weight limits. In this study, feasibility of using a single-span bridge as a weigh-in-motion tool to quantify the gross vehicle weights (GVW) of trucks is studied. As part of a short-term monitoring project, this bridge was subjected to four sets of high speed, live-load tests. Measured strain data are used to implement bridge weigh-in-motion (B-WIM) algorithms and calculate the corresponding velocities and GVWs. A comparison is made between calculated and static weights, and furthermore, between supposed speeds and estimated speeds of the trucks.

Vibration-based techniques that use finite-element (FE) model updating for SHM of bridges are common for infrastructure applications. This study presents the application of both static and dynamic-based FE model updating of a full scale bridge. Both dynamic and live-load testing were conducted on this bridge and vibration, strain, and deflections were measured at different locations. A FE model is calibrated using different error functions. This model could capture both global and local response of the structure and the performance of the updated model is validated with part of the collected measurements that were not included in the calibration process.