Acoustic Emission Monitoring of Steel Bridge Members

Report No: 97-R13

Published in 1997

About the report:

This report describes the results of a study to characterize the acoustic emission (AE) associated with steel cracking and various sources of noise in a typical bridge environment. It summarizes previous applications of AE monitoring of steel bridges and describes the AE field testing of five bridges in Virginia, including extensive data and discussion of the field testing of the active cracking of a hanger on the Rte. 29 bridge over the Robinson River in Madison County. The study revealed that 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. A database developed from AE studies would allow the integration of real-time monitoring of the deterioration of steel bridge members into bridge management and decision making in lieu of frequent visual inspections.

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

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

Last updated: December 16, 2023

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