Research Activities: 2002

Preservation of Missouri Transportation Infrastructure -- Fiber Optic Monitoring



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Sequential Number


Matching Research Agency

Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT)

Principal Investigator

Steve E. Watkins
Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Missouri University of Science & Technology

121 EECH
Rolla, Missouri 65409-0040

Student Involvement

A graduate student in electrical engineering will be involved in installing the instrumentation and conducting the field load tests.

Project Objective

The fiber optic sensing instrumentation will be installed on one of the strengthened bridges. The following are objectives of this health monitoring activity:

to monitor load-induced flexure strain in strengthening FRP plates and
to monitor load-induced flexure strain in original rebar reinforcement.

The sensors will be installed on during the initial strengthening activity and will be used in all of the subsequent field testing.


Project Abstract

The proposed work for this project is to instrument one of the FRP-strengthened bridges to verify that the FRP reinforcement is carrying the desired load. A redundant network of fiber optic strain sensors will be permanent additions to key points of the selected bridge and will be used during the semiannual tests of the structure. The fiber optic sensing capability will provide highly repeatable comparisons of load-bearing performance for the planned periodic tests to the initial performance. This information will complement data obtained from other nondestructive testing approaches and from temporary strain and displacement sensors.

Anticipated Benefits

Instrumentation of a structure with integral permanent sensors can provide valuable data for inspection, maintenance, and repair tasks. Appropriate placement of the sensors and development of smart information processing offer the potential for rapid, quantified interpretation. Alternative visual inspection and traditional testing can be time consuming and expensive by comparison.

Modal Orientation

Load Monitoring


Project Start Date:05/01/2003
Project End Date:07/31/2008

Relationship to other Research/Projects

This work builds on the experience of the instrumentation and field testing of bridges including the Missouri University of Science & Technology Smart Composite Bridge, secondary bridges in St. James, Missouri, and several Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) system bridges.

Technology Transfer Activities

The project will include testing of improved data acquisition systems for the fiber optic sensing system.

Transportation Research Board Keywords

Bridge monitoring, fiber optic sensing