Acoustic Emission Monitoring of Steel Bridge Members

Report No: 95-IR1

Published in 1995

About the report:

This interim report describes the current status of acoustic emission (AE) monitoring of steel bridge members. The report includes a brief introduction to the theory of acoustic emission and a comprehensive summary of previous efforts to apply AE monitoring to steel bridges, and discusses issues related to AE noise discrimination. Five bridges were field tested. Extensive data from the active cracking of a hanger on the Rte. 29 bridge over the Robinson River at Madison, Virginia, are discussed. The report includes conclusions and recommendations based on extensive field monitoring. Two appendices detail the laboratory fatigue testing of bridge steels and the simulated environmental exposure of AE transducer-mounting adhesives. AE monitoring is sensitive to the acoustic energy emitted by steel bridge members during the formation and growth of cracks. It is the only method that can distinguish between active and benign cracks. It is also possible to discriminate between AE caused by crack growth and irrelevant noise. AE information can be significant in making repair or replacement decisions, and AE could be used for the continuous remote monitoring of critical bridge members or even entire bridges.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

G. G. Clemeña, Margarit G. Lozev, John C. Duke, Miguel F. Sison

Last updated: December 18, 2023

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