Monitoring of Dynamic Bridge Behaviour Using Digital Image Correlation
Hoag, Adam J.
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Bridges are a critical part of North America’s transportation network that need to be assessed frequently to inform bridge management decision making. Visual inspections are usually implemented for this purpose, during which inspectors must observe and report any excess displacements or vibrations. Unfortunately, these visual inspections are subjective and often highly variable and so a monitoring technology that can provide quantitative measurements to supplement inspections is needed. Digital Image Correlation (DIC) is a novel monitoring technology that uses digital images to measure displacement fields without any contact with the bridge. In this research, DIC and accelerometers were used to investigate the dynamic response of a railway bridge reported to experience large lateral displacements. Displacements were estimated using accelerometer measurements and were compared to DIC measurements. It was shown that accelerometers can provide reasonable estimates of displacement for zero-mean lateral displacements. By comparing measurements in the girder and in the piers, it was shown that for the bridge monitored, the large lateral displacements originated in the steel casting bearings positioned above the piers, and not in the piers themselves. The use of DIC for evaluating the effectiveness of rehabilitation of the LaSalle Causeway lift bridge in Kingston, Ontario was also investigated. Vertical displacements were measured at midspan and at the lifting end of the bridge during a static test and under dynamic live loading. The bridge displacements were well within the operating limits, however a gap at the lifting end of the bridge was identified. Rehabilitation of the bridge was conducted and by comparing measurements before and after rehabilitation, it was shown that the gap was successfully closed. Finally, DIC was used to monitor the midspan vertical and lateral displacements in a monitoring campaign of five steel rail bridges. DIC was also used to evaluate the effectiveness of structural rehabilitation of the lateral bracing of a bridge. Simple finite element models are developed using DIC measurements of displacement. Several lessons learned throughout this monitoring campaign are discussed in the hope of aiding future researchers.