Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering - (M.S.)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

M. Ala Saadeghvaziri

Second Advisor

Mohamed Ahmed Mahgoub

Third Advisor

Sunil Saigal


Structural Health Monitoring, damage detection and localization of bridges using Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) are studied in this thesis. The continuous monitoring of bridges to detect damage is a very useful tools for preventing unnecessary costly and emergent maintenance. The optimal design aims to maximize the lifetime of the system, the accuracy of the sensed data, and the system reliability, and to minimize the system cost and complexity

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is carried out using LUSAS Bridge Plus software to determine sensor locations and measurement types and effectively minimize the number of sensors, data for transmission, and volume of data for processing. In order to verify the computer simulation outputs and evaluate the proposed optimal design and algorithms, a WSN system mounted on a simple reinforced concrete frame model is employed in the lab. A series of tests are carried out on the reinforced concrete frame mounted on the shaking table in order to simulate the existing extreme loading condition. Experimental methods which are based on modal analysis under ambient vibrational excitation are often employed to detect structural damages of mechanical systems, many of such frequency domain methods as first step use a Fast Fourier Transform estimate of the Power Spectral Density (PSD) associated with the response of the system. In this study it is also shown that higher order statistical estimators such as Spectral Kurtosis (SK) and Sample to Model Ratio (SMR) may be successfully employed to more reliably discriminate the response of the system against the ambient noise and better identify and separate contributions from closely spaced individual modes. Subsequently, the identified modal parameters are used for damage detection and Structural Health Monitoring.

To evaluate the preliminary results of the project's prototype and quantify the current bridge response as well as demonstrate the ability of the SHM system to successfully perform on a bridge, the deployment of Wireless Sensor Networks in an existing highway bridge in Qatar is implemented. The proposed technique will eventually be applied to the new stadium that State of Qatar will build in preparation for the 2022 World Cup. This monitoring system will help permanently record the vibration levels reached in all substructures during each event to evaluate the actual health state of the stadiums. This offers the opportunity to detect potentially dangerous situations before they become critical.