J. Lynch, K. Law, A. Kiremidjian
Mar 25, 2004
Structural Engineering and Mechanics
There exists a clear need to monitor the performance of civil structures over their operational lives. Current commercial monitoring systems suffer from various technological and economic limitations that prevent their widespread adoption. The wires used to route measurements from system sensors to the centralized data server represent one of the greatest limitations since they are physically vulnerable and expensive from an installation and maintenance standpoint. In lieu of cables, the introduction of low-cost wireless communications is proposed. The result is the design of a prototype wireless sensing unit that can serve as the fundamental building block of wireless modular monitoring systems (WiMMS). An additional feature of the wireless sensing unit is the incorporation of computational power in the form of state-of-art microcontrollers. The prototype unit is validated with a series of laboratory and field tests. The Alamosa Canyon Bridge is employed to serve as a full-scale benchmark structure to validate the performance of the wireless sensing unit in the field. A traditional cable-based monitoring system is installed in parallel with the wireless sensing units for performance comparison.