Large-scale strain sensing approach for detecting fatigue cracks in steel bridges

X. Kong, J. Li, C. Bennett, W. Collins, H. Jo, S. Laflamme

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Fatigue cracking in steel highway bridges presents major safety and maintenance concerns for bridge owners: if bridges are not regularly inspected and maintained, fatigue cracks can lead to structural failure. It is of key importance to detect and assess fatigue crack activity in steel bridges in a timely and holistic manner. This study presents a novel strain sensing technology for fatigue crack monitoring based on soft elastomeric capacitors (SECs). SECs are inexpensive, easy to fabricate, highly stretchable, and mechanically robust capacitance-based strain gauges. Additionally, SECs are a highly-scalable technology, capable of monitoring deformations over a much larger area than can be achieved with traditional metal foil strain gauges. This characteristic enables SECs to be applied over and around entire fatigue details in steel bridges to detect, localize, and monitor fatigue cracks. Here, we first review previous experimental work using the SEC as a crack monitoring device for in-plane fatigue crack detection on small-scale compact, C(T), specimens. Then, we extend the SEC technology for sensing fatigue damage in a large-scale structural surface through dense SEC arrays. An effective data visualization method is proposed to convert a fatigue damage feature, termed crack growth index (CGI), from individual SECs to a 2-dimensional CGI map, which depicts the fatigue damage over a large-scale area. It is possible to monitor fatigue damage evolution by observing the change in intensity in CGI maps during the fatigue test. The effectiveness of this approach was validated through an experimental test on a bridge girder-to-cross-frame connection subjected to out-of-plane fatigue loading. Overall, the results of this study indicate that the SEC technology has great potential for detecting and monitoring fatigue crack growth in practical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMaintenance, Safety, Risk, Management and Life-Cycle Performance of Bridges - Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Bridge Maintenance, Safety and Management, IABMAS 2018
EditorsNigel Powers, Dan M. Frangopol, Riadh Al-Mahaidi, Colin Caprani
PublisherCRC Press/Balkema
Pages567-575
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781138730458
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Event9th International Conference on Bridge Maintenance, Safety and Management, IABMAS 2018 - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: Jul 9 2018Jul 13 2018

Publication series

NameMaintenance, Safety, Risk, Management and Life-Cycle Performance of Bridges - Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Bridge Maintenance, Safety and Management, IABMAS 2018

Conference

Conference9th International Conference on Bridge Maintenance, Safety and Management, IABMAS 2018
CountryAustralia
CityMelbourne
Period7/9/187/13/18

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

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  • Cite this

    Kong, X., Li, J., Bennett, C., Collins, W., Jo, H., & Laflamme, S. (2018). Large-scale strain sensing approach for detecting fatigue cracks in steel bridges. In N. Powers, D. M. Frangopol, R. Al-Mahaidi, & C. Caprani (Eds.), Maintenance, Safety, Risk, Management and Life-Cycle Performance of Bridges - Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Bridge Maintenance, Safety and Management, IABMAS 2018 (pp. 567-575). (Maintenance, Safety, Risk, Management and Life-Cycle Performance of Bridges - Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Bridge Maintenance, Safety and Management, IABMAS 2018). CRC Press/Balkema.