Billie F. Spencer, Jr.


Infrastructure Management Enabled by Structural Health Monitoring

Billie F. Spencer, Jr.
Nathan M. and Anne M. Newmark Endowed Chair in Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA

The ability to continuously monitor the integrity of structures in real-time can provide for increased safety to the public, particularly for the aging structures in widespread use today. The ability to detect damage at an early stage can reduce the costs and down-time associated with repair of critical damage. Observing and/or predicting the onset of dangerous structural behavior, such as flutter in bridges, can allow for advance warning of such behavior and commencement of mitigating control or removal of the structure from service for the protection of human life. In addition to monitoring long-term degradation, assessment of structural integrity after catastrophic events, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, or fires, is vital. These assessments can be a significant expense (both in time and money), as was seen after the 1994 Northridge earthquake with the sheer number of buildings that needed to have the moment-resisting connections inspected. Furthermore, after significant disasters, it is imperative that emergency facilities and evacuation routes, including bridges and highways, be assessed for safety. This paper explores the need for effective SHM to enable sustainable and resiliant infrastructure management, with a primary focus being to enhance safety and reliability and to reduce maintenance and inspection costs.

Keywords: structural health monitoring, wireless smart sensors, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, consequence-based infrastructure management