Introduction to Structural Health Monitoring (SHM)

Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) in civil engineering is a technique used to assess and manage the condition and performance of structures over time. It involves the use of various sensors and technologies to continuously or periodically monitor and collect data on the structural integrity, load-bearing capacity, and environmental conditions affecting a building, bridge, dam, or other infrastructure. The collected data is then analyzed to detect and assess any changes, damages, or anomalies, allowing for early identification of potential issues and informed decision-making regarding maintenance, repair, or retrofitting activities. SHM plays a crucial role in enhancing the safety, reliability, and lifespan of civil structures.

Bridge Monitoring : The Cornerstone of Tomorrow’s Sustainable Infrastructure

A modern infrastructure enables us to organize mobility more sustainably, transport goods and commodities in a climate-friendly way and take advantage of the opportunities offered by digitization. Doing without it is not an option.

Our dependence on safe infrastructure, such as bridges and roads, is growing due to the increasing complexity and interconnectedness of our society and economy, amongst other factors. Aging infrastructure requires high maintenance and replacement costs. With urbanization and population growth, the demands on these infrastructures are increasing. They are also potential targets for threats, underscoring the need for their security and reliability. 

Bridges play an essential role in road traffic. They connect cities and towns and are used in a variety of ways. Advanced bridge monitoring is becoming increasingly essential to ensure that bridges can withstand the demands placed on them and respond to potential damage or deterioration at an early stage.

Bridges are subject to continuous loads from traffic, environmental influences, or natural events such as earthquakes. Effective bridge monitoring can identify potential problems early and take action to ensure bridge safety and prevent major damage. A comprehensive monitoring system helps engineers and bridge operators understand bridges’ structural integrity, load limits, and service life. It is often necessary to install bridge monitoring after the fact. There are many challenges to overcome.

Remote & Distributed Monitoring Data Acquisition (DAQ)

Remote & Distributed Monitoring DAQ is used in applications such as monitoring the health and performance of distributed systems, monitoring the status of industrial equipment, and monitoring the environment or environment-related systems. Structural health monitoring (SHM) can also be used for predictive maintenance, energy management, and data analysis. This type of monitoring is becoming increasingly important in many industries, as it allows for the efficient and effective monitoring of multiple systems from a single point of access.

Distributed & synchronized measurement refers to the process of collecting and analyzing data from multiple sensors that are distributed ober a large area and are synchronized to a common time reference. Distributed Monitoring DAQ systems typically have distributed I/O modules measurement installed close to points of measurement reducing cable clutter and measurements are less prone to noise due to short sensor cables while remaining connected and synchronized to the Controller Q.station

Gantner Instruments for Distributed Monitoring Data Acquisition (DAQ)

Distributed measuring systems may easily be configured with Q.series measurement modules and Q.station test controller (several versions available). The modules are connected to the test controller via serial RS-485 (4 UART network available) interfaces (RS-485 to Fiber available) with very high data rates. Despite the distributed set-up, measurement is in sync with a maximum jitter of 1 μs. The Q.station  controller provides different interfaces for connecting a PC and automation systems depending on the controller type. A special advantage of this structure is the simultaneous availability of the measurement data in real-time through a deterministic real-time Interface and the block-by-block transmission of large amounts of the same data over standard Ethernet.

Recent Project : 

Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) of the Xarrama Railway Bridge in Evora, Portugal

This system was developed by NewMensus within the scope of the REV@CONSTRUCTION: Digital Construction Revolution project, a "Work of Art demonstrator" was then developed, having The Railway Bridge over the Xarrama River was chosen, a railway bridge, which is part of the South International Corridor, Evora Line Railway.

The sensor monitoring system comprises 8 temperature sensors, with 6 embedded in the concrete and 2 measuring ambient temperature. Additionally, 8 LVDT (Linear Variable Differential Transformer) displacement sensors have been installed to measure horizontal displacements at the supports. Four strain gauges (350 Ohm) have also been embedded in the concrete, along with 8 accelerometers.

Engineering System Integrator : NewMensus (Porto), Prof. Joaquim Azevedo Figueiras

Engineering Sales Partner : PerfectDecibel (Sintra), Carlos Gomes

Remote & Distributed Data Acquisition (DAQ) : Gantner Instruments

For complete information please follow this link to LinkedIn :

Other reference projects : 

Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) of the 25 Abril Bridge in Lisbon, Portugal

This impressive bridge closely resembles the Golden Bridge in San Francisco, with its name commemorating the Portuguese Carnation Revolution of 25 April 1974.

For complete information on the largest remote and distributed monitoring data acquisition system installed in Portugal, 

follow link to : 

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