“Most bridge failures occur in a localized region from degradation mechanisms, such as fatigue and corrosion,” Ziehl said. “This research will enable us to strategically place sensors on bridges, collect data from the sensor network and analyze that data with the development of new computer software and models.”
Ultimately, the study will give bridge owners a high-tech system to detect problems early.
“Bridge owners will be able to make informed decisions, set priorities and determine where remote monitoring will be cost effective,” Ziehl said.
The S.C. Department of Transportation is collaborating with the University of South Carolina and has contributed several bridge girders for the study.
The research team also includes Dr. Juan Caicedo (numerical modeling and bridge prognostics); Dr. Sarah Gassman (foundations), and Dr. Nathan Huynh (assessment of the transportation network) from the department of civil and environmental engineering; and Dr. Lingyu Yu (active sensing) from the department of mechanical engineering.