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Pervasive Fibre-optic sensor networks in bridges: A UK case study

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Butler, LJ 
Elshafie, MZEB 
Middleton, CR 


© 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, London. Integrating fibre-optic sensor networks in a newly-constructed infrastructure assets enables datadriven performance assessment during its construction and throughout its operational life. As part of a multimillion pound railway infrastructure redevelopment project, two new railway bridges were instrumented with an extensive network of both discrete (fibre Bragg gratings or FBGs) and distributed (based on Brillouin optical time domain reflectometry or BOTDR) fibre optic sensors to measure both strain and temperature throughout construction and in-service. Completed in 2016 in Staffordshire UK, both ‘self-sensing’ bridges contain more than 500 fibre Bragg grating sensors and over 600 metres of distributed fibre optic sensor cabling. This paper describes the sensing technologies employed, installation techniques for improving sensing robustness, the monitoring programme and objectives, data processing methods and assumptions, and the primary monitoring findings of this project. Results related to measurements of prestress losses in prestressed concrete girders, estimates of steel girder deflection using FBGs and videogrammetry, and assessments of percentage utilization of critical superstructure elements are presented. In terms of future directions, BIM-based environments which incorporate sensor elements and an emerging field of research known as Data-Centric Engineering are introduced as tools to better manage, maintain and learn from the information generated from self-sensing infrastructure.



Journal Title

Maintenance, Safety, Risk, Management and Life-Cycle Performance of Bridges - Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Bridge Maintenance, Safety and Management, IABMAS 2018

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9th International Conference on Bridge Maintenance, Safety and Management, IABMAS 2018

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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/N021614/1)
Technology Strategy Board (920035)
EPSRC, Innovate UK and the Lloyd's Register Foundation for funding this research through the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC) Innovation and Knowledge Centre and the Alan Turing Institute.