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Smart Structures and Systems
  Volume 27, Number 2, February 2021, pages 319-333

Detecting and localizing anomalies on masonry towers from low-cost vibration monitoring
Paolo Borlenghi, Carmelo Gentile and Antonella Saisi

    The structural health of masonry towers can be monitored by installing few accelerometers (or seismometers) at the top of the building. This cost-effective setup provides continuous and reliable information on the natural frequencies of the structure and allows to detect the occurrence of structural anomalies; however, to move from anomaly detection to localization with such a simplified distribution of sensors, a calibrated numerical model is needed. The paper summarizes the development of a Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) procedure for the model-based damage assessment in masonry towers using frequency data. The proposed methodology involves the subsequent steps: (i) preliminary analysis including geometric survey and ambient vibration tests; (ii) FE modeling and updating based on the identified modal parameters; (iii) creation of a Damage Location Reference Matrix (DLRM) from numerically simulated damage scenarios; (iv) detection of the onset of damage from the analysis of the continuously collected vibration data, and (v) localization of the anomalies through the comparison between the experimentally identified variations of natural frequencies and the above-defined DLRM matrix. The proposed SHM methodology is exemplified on the ancient Zuccaro tower in Mantua, Italy. Pseudo-experimental monitoring data were generated and employed to assess the reliability of the developed algorithm in identifying the damage location. The results show a promise toward the practical applications of the proposed strategy for the early identification of damage in ancient towers.
Key Words
    damage localization; masonry tower; model updating; historical constructions; structural health monitoring
Department of Architecture, Built environment and Construction engineering (ABC), Politecnico di Milano, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133 Milan, Italy.

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