Local-based damage detection of cyclically loaded bridge piers using wireless sensing units

Tsung Chin Hou, Jerome P. Lynch, Gustavo Parra-Montesinos

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Concrete bridge piers are a common structural element employed in the design of bridges and elevated roadways. In order to ensure adequate behavior under earthquake-induced displacements, extensive reinforcement detailing in the form of closely spaced ties or spirals is necessary, leading to congestion problems and difficulties during concrete casting. Further, costly repairs are often necessary in bridge piers after a major earthquake which in some cases involve the total or partial shutdown of the bridge. In order to increase the damage tolerance while relaxing the transverse reinforcement requirements of bridge piers, the use of high-performance fiber reinforced cementitious composites (HPFRCC) in earthquake-resistant bridge piers is explored. HPFRCCs are a relatively new class of cementitious material for civil structures with tensile strain-hardening behavior and high damage tolerance. To monitor the behavior of this new class of material in the field, low-cost wireless monitoring technologies will be adopted to provide HPFRCC structural elements the capability to accurately monitor their performance and health. In particular, the computational core of a wireless sensing unit can be harnessed to screen HPFRCC components for damage in real-time. A seismic damage index initially proposed for flexure dominated reinforced concrete elements is modified to serve as an algorithmic tool for the rapid assessment of damage (due to flexure and shear) in HPFRCC bridge piers subjected to large shear reversals. Traditional and non-traditional sensor strategies of an HPFRCC bridge pier are proposed to optimize the correlation between the proposed damage index model and the damage observed in a circular pier test specimen. Damage index models are shown to be a sufficiently accurate rough measure of the degree of local-area damage that can then be wirelessly communicated to bridge officials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
Pages (from-to)85-96
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Oct 7
EventHealth Monitoring and Smart Nondestructive Evaluation of Structural and Biological Systems IV - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 2005 Mar 72005 Mar 9

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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