Acoustic Emission Monitoring of a Fracture-Critical Bridge


Arturo Schultz, Daniel Morton, Anton Tillmann, Javier Campos, David Thompson, Alexandria Lee-Norris, Ryan Ballard

March 2014

Report no. MnDOT 2014-15

With bridge infrastructure in Minnesota aging, advancing techniques for ensuring bridge safety is a fundamental goal of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). As such, developing health monitoring systems for fracture-critical bridges is an essential objective in meeting the stated goal. This report documents the acquisition, testing and installation of a 16-sensor acoustic emission monitoring system in the Cedar Avenue Bridge, which is a fracture-critical tied arch bridge in Burnsville, Minnesota. The overall goal of the project was to demonstrate that acoustic emission technology could be used for global monitoring of fracture-critical steel bridges. Project activities included the acquisition of the monitoring equipment, its testing to verify compliance with manufacturer specifications, installation of the equipment on the selected bridge, field testing to calibrate the system, development of data processing protocols for the acoustic emission (AE) data, and the collection of field data for a period of 22 months. Fracture tests of notched cantilever steel beams were conducted in the laboratory to provide characterization data for fracture events.

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