Techno Press
You logged in as Techno Press

Smart Structures and Systems
  Volume 20, Number 5, November 2017 , pages 549-562

Total reference-free displacements for condition assessment of timber railroad bridges using tilt
Ali I. Ozdagli, Jose A. Gomez and Fernando Moreu

    The US railroad network carries 40% of the nation\'s total freight. Railroad bridges are the most critical part of the network infrastructure and, therefore, must be properly maintained for the operational safety. Railroad managers inspect bridges by measuring displacements under train crossing events to assess their structural condition and prioritize bridge management and safety decisions accordingly. The displacement of a railroad bridge under train crossings is one parameter of interest to railroad bridge owners, as it quantifies a bridge\'s ability to perform safely and addresses its serviceability. Railroad bridges with poor track conditions will have amplified displacements under heavy loads due to impacts between the wheels and rail joints. Under these circumstances, vehicle-track-bridge interactions could cause excessive bridge displacements, and hence, unsafe train crossings. If displacements during train crossings could be measured objectively, owners could repair or replace less safe bridges first. However, data on bridge displacements is difficult to collect in the field as a fixed point of reference is required for measurement. Accelerations can be used to estimate dynamic displacements, but to date, the pseudo-static displacements cannot be measured using reference-free sensors. This study proposes a method to estimate total transverse displacements of a railroad bridge under live train loads using acceleration and tilt data at the top of the exterior pile bent of a standard timber trestle, where train derailment due to excessive lateral movement is the main concern. Researchers used real bridge transverse displacement data under train traffic from varying bridge serviceability levels. This study explores the design of a new bridge deck-pier experimental model that simulates the vibrations of railroad bridges under traffic using a shake table for the input of train crossing data collected from the field into a laboratory model of a standard timber railroad pile bent. Reference-free sensors measured both the inclination angle and accelerations of the pile cap. Various readings are used to estimate the total displacements of the bridge using data filtering. The estimated displacements are then compared to the true responses of the model measured with displacement sensors. An average peak error of 10% and a root mean square error average of 5% resulted, concluding that this method can cost-effectively measure the total displacement of railroad bridges without a fixed reference.
Key Words
    bridges; experiment; sensor/sensor placement; smart sensor; structural dynamics; structural health monitoring (SHM); serviceability; railroad bridges; tilt; displacements; accelerations
Ali I. Ozdagli, Jose A. Gomez and Fernando Moreu: Department of Civil Engineering, University of New Mexico, MSC01 1070, 1 University of New Mexico,
Albuquerque, NM 87131, Mexico

Techno-Press: Publishers of international journals and conference proceedings.       Copyright © 2024 Techno Press
P.O. Box 33, Yuseong, Daejeon 305-600 Korea, Tel: +82-42-828-7996, Fax : +82-42-828-7997, Email: