Structures such as highway bridges undergo detrimental effects because of high traffic load, environmental conditions and seismic occurrences such as earthquakes.
Out of four bridges in US, at least one is architecturally deficient or has become obsolete in terms of functionality. In such a situation, monitoring the performance of field bridges is imperative to ensure their ongoing sustainability, optimal design, maintenance for long-term use.
In this regard, a MicroStrain wireless bridge monitoring system was launched by BridgeComposites, LLC of Hornell, NY to track and measure how well the seismic isolation bearings are performing in terms of reducing the load of seismic activities. The required information on health and environment of bearings was continuously conveyed to engineers in real-time. This combined with web-based data visualization and analytic tools on SensorCloud™ facilitated researchers and BridgeComposites in measuring and describing performance-related data in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Apart from that, reduced installation time as well as greater preservation of scalable and synchronized data regardless of the bridge’s length was another major benefit of using MicroStrain’s wireless monitoring solution.
The network included seven wireless sensor nodes, of which two were G-Link® accelerometer nodes, the other two were DVRT® Linear displacement transducers, two TC-Link® temperature nodes and the last one was SG-Link® wireless strain gauge node.
Each of these plays a different role to enhance the overall performance; the wireless accelerometers test vibrations at 16Hz on a continuous basis, while the wireless linear displacement transducers are there to monitor the longitudinal movements across thermal cycles on the bridge, and the wireless strain gauges keep a check on deformities or distortions that may occur as a result of various seismic activities.
Consistent and reliable data communication was achieved through the use of extended range synchronized sampling, while efficient operations for several years without the need of having to replace batteries were made possible by advanced energy management procedures and string energy harvesting capabilities.
Once gathered and aggregated by means of MicroStrain’s web-enabled WSDA® – 1000, the sensor data was transmitted to SensorCloud, where it was viewed and shared by the owners and other involved parties. This data could be used by these individuals in generating threshold alerts that inform – via text or e-mail – if a pre-set condition had been exceeded.
Jerome O’Connor, President of BridgeComposites says: “While the system records data under an infrequent extreme event, such as an earthquake, BridgeComposites is also able to quantitatively assess continuous bearing performance remotely in real-time. Specifically, capturing the bearings behavior under traffic loading and changing environmental conditions enabled our engineers to observe response under actual service conditions.”
While the CEO and President of MicroStrain says: “We’re excited to work with BridgeComposites to monitor the performance of next-generation bridges with seismic isolation. Our wireless sensing networks and SensorCloud provides our customers with the long term data they need to optimize structural performance and to assess structural health.”
About BridgeComposites LLC
Based in Hornell, NY, BridgeComposites LLC is a member of the Technology Incubator, which is affiliated with the University of Buffalo. BridgeComposites, LLC aims to provide cutting-edge smart bridge technologies, and the use of adequate materials in bridges and other structures to prevent unfavorable effects such as corrosion.
For complete information, visit our website at http://www.bridgecomposites.com
MicroStrain, based in Williston, Vermont, USA, is a leader in manufacturing sensing systems, some of which include: micro-displacement transducers, wireless sensor networks and a few others. These sensors are optimal for use in industrial, medical and defense settings, all of which include testing latest designs, controlling processes, stabilize the processes etc. With its all-powerful SensorCloud®, users can access sensor data anytime and from any corner of the world. The innovation and far-sightedness of MicroStrain have earned it a number of rewards for it as well. More about MicroStrain can be found here.