Implementing bridge model updating for operation and maintenance purposes: examination based on UK practitioners’ views

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Kuok, SC 
Butler, LJ 
Middleton, CR 

There has been a vision of creating bridge digital twins as virtual simulation models of bridge assets to facilitate remote management. Bridge model updating is one digital twin technology which can enable the continuous updating of the structural model as new monitoring data is collected. This paper examines why there is currently little industry uptake of monitoring, modelling and model updating for the operation and maintenance of bridges despite over two decades of research in these fields. The study analyses the findings from a series of semi-structured industry interviews with expert bridge professionals in the U.K. and from an extensive literature survey of bridge model updating studies to examine the disconnects between research and practice and the practical issues of implementing bridge model updating. In particular, the study found that localised damage resulting in local reduction in structural stiffness, a key assumption made in the majority of research, is subject to question by practitioners as many common types of bridge damage may not induce noticeable change in structural stiffness that existing model updating techniques would identify. Key recommendations for future research are proposed to drive adoption of bridge monitoring, modelling and model updating and thus realise their industrial value.

Bridge operation and maintenance, digital twin technology, industry practice, structural health monitoring, structural model updating
Journal Title
Structure and Infrastructure Engineering
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Informa UK Limited
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EPSRC (1947594)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/L016095/1)