Structural Performance Evaluation of Bridges: Characterizing and Integrating Thermal Response
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
I would like to publish a few journal articles using research information from my thesis.
Bridge monitoring studies indicate that the quasi-static response of a bridge, while dependent on various input forces, is affected predominantly by variations in temperature. In many structures, the quasi-static response can even be approximated as equal to its thermal response. Consequently, interpretation of measurements from quasi-static monitoring requires accounting for the thermal response in measurements. Developing solutions to this challenge, which is critical to relate measurements to decision-making and thereby realize the full potential of SHM for bridge management, is the main focus of this research. This research proposes a data-driven approach referred to as temperature-based measurement interpretation (TB-MI) approach for structural performance evaluation of bridges based on continuous bridge monitoring. The approach characterizes and predicts thermal response of structures by exploiting the relationship between temperature distributions across a bridge and measured bridge response. The TB-MI approach has two components - (i) a regression-based thermal response prediction (RBTRP) methodology and (ii) an anomaly detection methodology. The RBTRP methodology generates models to predict real-time structural response from distributed temperature measurements. The anomaly detection methodology analyses prediction error signals, which are the differences between predicted and real-time response to detect the onset of anomaly events. In order to generate realistic data-sets for evaluating the proposed TB-MI approach, this research has built a small-scale truss structure in the laboratory as a test-bed. The truss is subject to accelerated diurnal temperature cycles using a system of heating lamps. Various damage scenarios are also simulated on this structure. This research further investigates if the underlying concept of using distributed temperature measurements to predict thermal response can be implemented using physics-based models. The case study of Cleddau Bridge is considered. This research also extends the general concept of predicting bridge response from knowledge of input loads to predict structural response due to traffic loads. Starting from the TB-MI approach, it creates an integrated approach for analyzing measured response due to both thermal and vehicular loads. The proposed approaches are evaluated on measurement time-histories from a number of case studies including numerical models, laboratory-scale truss and full-scale bridges. Results illustrate that the approaches accurately predicts thermal response, and that anomaly events are detectable using signal processing techniques such as signal subtraction method and cointegration. The study demonstrates that the proposed TB-MI approach is applicable for interpreting measurements from full-scale bridges, and can be integrated within a measurement interpretation platform for continuous bridge monitoring.
PhD in Engineering