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Structural Health Monitoring


Engineering structures such as bridges and buildings are constantly exposed to variable and harsh weather conditions that cause changing loads and intense mechanical stress. These changes impact the operations and structural health of the structures and incur high costs for replacing equipment. Therefore, to estimate the remaining useful life of the equipment and to implement the best maintenance strategy before the failure occurs, structural health monitoring systems are employed with the help of sensor technology to monitor various parameters such as temperature, voltage, current, noise or vibration in the structure and determine its remaining useful life. 

A typical structural health monitoring system involves periodically acquiring information regarding the ability of the structure to perform its intended function with respect to its relative ageing and operating conditions. The sensor technology, excitation methods, and other data acquisition components are selected based on the severity of existing damage, location of the damage and the environmental conditions of the structure. The intervals at which data should be collected is another consideration that must be addressed. 

The sensors generally utilised for monitoring the health of the structure include strain gauges, vibration sensors and contact capacitive displacement sensors. A vibration data logger serves that purpose by recording shocks and vibrations over a period of time. It generally consists of an accelerometer, a processor, storage media and power supply. The logger generally measures impact as summary data or an entire waveform and provides an indication of whether a threshold was breached. 

Strain gauges are used in the detection of crack initiation and the observation of crack growth in metal. They can evaluate the fracture mechanics and fatigue behavior of metals and are bonded with an adhesive on the position where the crack is initiated or the crack initiation is expected. 

Laser Displacement measurements are generally preferred when examining the broad picture of mechanical vibrations of earthquake-affected structures.

BeanAir SmartSensor Series for vibration analysis, movement detection, structural health monitoring and inertial measurement. The setup and integration are fairly easy, with no wiring required for assembling.