Nichols, John1; Tomor, Adrienn2 and Benedetti, Andrea3

1 Associate Professor, Department of Construction Science, Texas A&M University, Department of Construction Science, Francis Hall 302, 400 Bizzell St, TX 77843, College Station, US,
2 Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, University of the West of England, Coldharbour Lane, BS16 1QY, Bristol, UK,
3 Professor, Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering, Viale Risorgimento 2, 40136 Bologna, Italy,

The majority of masonry arch bridges are over 100 years old and carry ever increasing loading regimes. Safety and reliability of masonry bridges and structures are primary concerns of structure owners and managers. Assessing the condition of masonry structures relies primarily on visual observation due to the complexity of the problem and variability of the materials. The paper proposes a method of quantifying the condition of masonry structures based on frequency measurement. Frequency data is analysed through Fast Fourier transform (FFT) analysis and provides the frequency signature of the structure. Changes in the frequency signature over time can indicate deterioration or sudden damage. Finite element analysis can be used to relate changes in the measured frequency signature (modes) to individual structural elements and identify the location of damage. The system can be easily used in conjunction with routine bridge/structural inspection to create a numerical record of the structural condition and develop an alert function to would notify structure owners about deterioration or sudden impact. The process is demonstrated through a masonry arch bridge study in Parma, Italy.


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