Research Equipment Activities: 2003

Monitoring of Bridge Structures Equipment




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Sequential Number


Matching Research Agency

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Principal Investigator

Nestore Galati Ph.D
Research Scholar
University of Missouri-Rolla
221 Engineering Research Lab
Rolla, Missouri 65409
p(573) 341-6223
f(573) 341-6215


Student Involvement

Equipment will be used for load testing in support of externally-funded research.

Project Objective

Field testing is an increasingly important topic in the effort to deal with the deteriorating infrastructure, in particular bridges and pavements. There is a need for accurate and inexpensive methods for diagnostics, verification of load distribution and determination of the actual load carrying capacity. Recent studies indicate that 40 percent of the national bridges are deficient. The major factors that have contributed to the present situation are: the age, inadequate maintenance, increasing load spectra and environmental contamination. The deficient bridges are posted, repaired or replaced. The disposition of bridges involves clear economical and safety implications. To avoid high costs of replacement or repair, the evaluation must accurately reveal the present load carrying capacity of the structure and predict loads and any further changes in the capacity (deterioration) in the applicable time span. Load testing can also identify hidden strengths in the structure arising from a variety of sources to contribute towards avoidance of the need to conduct costly and disruptive strengthening works. Instrumentation used to evaluate the structure is likely to involve a combination of strain, deflection and temperature measuring sensors positioned to suit appraisal of the structure's performance in respect of critical stress and deflection criteria. The objectives of the proposed project are: a) the development and construction of a field data acquisition system capable to acquire all the possible measurands involved in a load test; and, b) acquisition of the tools needed for the installation of the sensors. The proposed project will also use the results and experience gained in the prior studies.


Anticipated Benefits

The proposed equipment will enhance the research activities at UMR. In particular it will be capable to acquire all the possible measurands involved in a load test (i.e. strains, displacements, forces and temperatures), and for the installation of the corresponding sensors. Faculty and students of Civil Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Metallurgical Engineering will use the equipment for field testing. The equipment will be located at the Engineering Research Laboratory at UMR and it will be used in UTC projects and other research elements at UMR.

Modal Orientation

Load test of infrastructures


Project Start Date:
April 1, 2004
Project End Date:December 30, 2004

Relationship to other Research/Projects

No piece of equipment has been developed in aiding individuals to monitor the underside of a bridge efficiently.

Technology Transfer Activities

Expertise with respect to acquisition, processing, interpretation and application of equipment will be shared via publications, and presentations.

Transportation Research Board Keywords

Displacement, Forces, Fiber Optics, Bridge Monitoring.