Structural Health Monitoring

structural-health-monitoringStructural Health Monitoring is a process whereby damage can be predicted on engineering structure. Engineers come up with ways of identifying and dealing with it by introducing new strategies.

This has been widely embraced in the entire world as technology changes. The construction of skyscrapers and wide bridges has widely contributed to its embrace.

The entire structural system may be damaged due to material quality. It can as well be as a result of a change in the whole structure properties and aging. The system performance can be initiated by different factors. One of them is change of system connectivity and boundary conditions.

Structural Health Monitoring does not just happen. It is a process that requires patience and endurance. It involves monitoring(Read about our Monitoring Systems) the structural system for some time. Engineers use some strong measurements that are set periodically.

Applications of Structural Health Monitoring


The structural monitoring is used generally for the following applications:

  1. Bridges across rivers
  2. Flyovers across highways
  3. Tall buildings for commercial and residential purpose
  4. Concrete towers
  5. Steel towers
  6. Suspended platforms

How is Structural Health Monitoring performed?

Once engineers identify the damage they need to analyze the level of damage. The analysis should give the actual condition of the system health.

The health monitoring of a structure is done by installing a lot of sensors and connecting to them either wirelessly or through wires to a central system. These sensors will analyze lot of parameters including vibration, change in different parameters over a period time, etc.

This process should be conducted many times within a short period. This is to ensure that the structural health is closely monitored. It will as well help in minimizing cases where the structural damage may endanger the lives of people. When the structure is firm it will serve well as it was initially intended.

This will happen despite the fact that it will reduce in value with time because of rust, wear and tear. Structural health monitoring is very effective and accurate. You can depend on the information it will provide. This is especially when it is used shortly after a blast or earthquake have taken place.

What is the importance of Health Monitoring of bridges and buildings?


It is very important to conduct a structural health monitoring. One of the areas it really helps in is identifying the condition of the structure throughout its lifespan. The method is ranked as the highest and effective technology that is used to keep track of the condition of engineering structures. It is outstanding because it is not a destructive test.

What does Structural Health Monitoring involve for buildings and bridges?

It involves several steps and processes. This includes transmission of data, the capability to process, ability to enumerate and merging sensors. It has several elements that make it possible for it to work effectively. They include data management, sensors, structure, transfer of data and its storage techniques. It has the ability to identify for how long the structure will be in use. It can as well identify the functioning of the system.

You can use it to evaluate the condition of the structure and to check its model update. This technology has been widely used on aircraft and on the construction of bridges. The sensors can tell the actual amount of strain and stress that is exerted on the engineering structure. All the information that is gotten from the sensors is usually transferred to remote data point.

Did you know you can conduct health monitoring on large bridges?

This can actually happen and you will get real-time information. This is made possible by measuring the different parameters of the bridge and the variations across defined values.

You can do that by examining deck, traffic, cables, pylons, weather, and ground. The information received from all this can be used in various ways. This includes predicting the amount of strain and estimate the health of the bridge.

Click to read about our Fault Monitoring Systems >>

Stages of increasing difficulty for bridges and buildings


For an engineer to be able to increase difficulty he needs to have detailed information about the other stages. These stages involve identifying whether the structure is damaged or not. He will then be required to identify exactly where the damage is. He needs to know which type of damage it is and determine the impact of the same. For the engineer to get damage information he will need to convert sensor information. This information is found in infrastructure health status.

When all these are taking place the engineers have to consider the difficulties of getting information. He should come up with ways of dealing with it. He must identify the life safety of the structure. He would need to consider if the structure would be having multiple damages or just one.It would be very important to identify under which conditions the structural system work. Once the distinctive properties of the damaged structure are identified it is easier repair it.

How to get data?

The process of getting data starts with selecting the best method, selecting the type of sensor, the storage and transmission channel. The data will be transferred to a cloud-based monitoring system. In case there are wide deviations, it can generate phone calls, SMS or email reports. It can generate periodic reports such as a monthly report so that the client can monitor for variations.