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Smart Structures and Systems
  Volume 6, Number 5, July-August 2010, pages 525-543

Development and deployment of large scale wireless sensor network on a long-span bridge
Shamim N. Pakzad

    Testing and validation processes are critical tasks in developing a new hardware platform based on a new technology. This paper describes a series of experiments to evaluate the performance of a newly developed MEMS-based wireless sensor node as part of a wireless sensor network (WSN). The sensor node consists of a sensor board with four accelerometers, a thermometer and filtering and digitization units, and a MICAz mote for control, local computation and communication. The experiments include calibration and linearity tests for all sensor channels on the sensor boards, dynamic range tests to evaluate their performance when subjected to varying excitation, noise characteristic tests to quantify the noise floor of the sensor board, and temperature tests to study the behavior of the sensors under changing temperature profiles. The paper also describes a large-scale deployment of the WSN on a long-span suspension bridge, which lasted over three months and continuously collected ambient vibration and temperature data on the bridge. Statistical modal properties of a bridge tower are presented and compared with similar estimates from a previous deployment of sensors on the bridge and finite element models.
Key Words
    wireless sensor network; testing and calibration; MEMS; modal analysis; bridge monitoring.
Shamim N. Pakzad; Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Lehigh University, PA 18015, USA

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