Bridges, Tunnels and other Transportation Structures
This paper will highlight the development and full-scale testing of a force sensing bridge bearing to be used for the continuous monitoring of bridges. There are a limited number of technologies on the market that may be easily incorporated into bridge design for long-term direct monitoring of bearing forces. Full-scale prototypes have been manufactured and incorporated in to typical RJ Watson Disktron sliding disk bearings. The force sensing sliding bearing utilizes multipoint strain-based pressure sensors to measure the pressure across the surface of the bearing. The novelty of the design lies in the non-intrusive integration of force sensors into conventional bearing designs. Therefore, the performance and geometry of the bearing are not altered. This design may be incorporated into any high load multi-rotational sliding bearings. The accuracy and reliability of these force sensing bridge bearings have been tested and validated under concentric and eccentric loading as well as in a full-scale, experimental setup of a simple span, plate girder. These experiments validated the ability of the device to be incorporated into a bridge system and directly measure the forces on bridge with a high level of accuracy. The long-term monitoring of the bearing system will allow engineers to measure traffic loads and collect traffic statistics over time. This data may be used to record changes and asses the health of the bridge. Analyzing the fluctuations of the bearing forces under daily traffic loads will allow engineers to better understand the in-situ performance of bridges. The data collected using these monitoring devices may be used to validate designs and improve future designs.