Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Marvin W. Halling


Marvin W. Halling


Paul J. Barr


Joseph A. Caliendo


Dynamic monitoring of structures is a method of detecting changes and damage to the structure. Vibration based monitoring has been used to detect damage in rotating machinery and is gaining popularity in the field of Structural Health Monitoring (SHM). Monitoring involves detecting changes in natural frequencies and changes in mode shapes. These changes reflect changes to properties of the bridge which can indicate damage.

The Nibley Bridge is a single span bridge comprised of ten deck bulb girders. The bridge spans 25.91m (85 ft.) and includes two lanes, sidewalks on both sides, and a small median. The Nibley Bridge was constructed with monitoring in mind. A dynamic monitoring system was planned to detect frequencies for long term monitoring. Initial monitoring of the embedded accelerometers was ineffective, so additional testing was required. An impact test was done with additional sensors to calibrate the embedded sensors. To further define the natural frequencies and mode shapes of the bridge, two shaker tests were also performed.

The embedded sensors were noted as having a large noise range. Also, they required a specific data logger to detect meaningful data. Recommendations for the use of the embedded accelerometers were determined and defined. The additional tests were able to assist in calibrating the accelerometers, as well as defining the natural frequencies and mode shapes of the structure. Natural frequencies were defined for each test and the changing condition of the bridge between those tests. The addition of asphalt occurred between two tests and a change of approximately 20° C between the other two tests. Though there is not much information to form a correlation, the detected changes define the dynamic aspects of the bridge.

Lastly, mode shapes were determined and a Modal Assurance Criterion (MAC)analysis was done to correlate the measured and analytical mode shapes. This model helped to indicate which parameters effect the mode shapes of the structure. Comparison between these parameters and changes between them help to indicate the predicted behavior of the structure under different circumstances. Though these tests do not define all of the dynamic properties of the bridge, they do provide a general baseline of values that can be expected for future tests of the structure.



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