PITA Fiscal Year 2013 Projects

Implementation and Verification Of A Mobile Sensor Assessment Strategy For Bridges

Lead University: Lehigh University
PI: Shamim Pakzad, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
PA Industry: Specialty Engineering, Inc.

The objective of this project is to address fundamental issues on the application of mobile sensors for structural condition assessment. This project will develop an analytical model, and experimental platform of validation and verification, for using mobile sensor data to identify characteristic dynamic properties and improve safety and reliability of highway bridges. An entire class of new models for understanding the behavior of systems should be developed; these models form a unique and novel platform that uses mobile devices to understand the performance of infrastructure systems. The inclusion of sensing capabilities in mobile devices presents an incredible opportunity for measuring structural response and environmental conditions at rates, volumes and locations not imaginable before. The mobile sensors are ubiquitous, and form a very wide and dense data grid with unique characteristics; the key question is what can be done with their data. The successful conclusion of this project has a significant impact on using this abundant data for structural condition assessment. The project will test the hypotheses that (i) the dynamic properties of a bridge can be identified using data from moving sensors which produce randomly incomplete data matrices, and (ii) a prototype testbed could produce data and procedures to verify the validity of the estimated dynamic properties of a highway bridge using mobile sensors. Testing these hypotheses is crucial in addressing the technology and data processing knowledge gaps for using mobile sensors for monitoring structures.