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Hajializadeh, D., O’Brien, E., and O’Connor, A., (2017), ‘Virtual Structural Health Monitoring and Remaining Life Prediction of Steel Bridges’, Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering. 44(4), pp. 264 - 273. 

In this study a structural health monitoring (SHM) system is combined with bridge weigh-in-motion (B-WIM) measurements of the actual traffic loading on a bridge to carry out a fatigue damage calculation. The SHM system uses the ‘virtual monitoring’ concept, where all parts of the bridge that are not monitored directly using sensors, are ‘virtually’ monitored using the load information and a calibrated finite element (FE) model of the bridge. Besides providing the actual traffic loading on the bridge, the measurements are used to calibrate the SHM system and to update the FE model of the bridge. The newly developed virtual monitoring concept then uses the calibrated FE model of the bridge to calculate stress ranges and hence to monitor fatigue at locations on the bridge not directly monitored. The combination of a validated numerical model of the bridge with the actual site-specific traffic loading allows a more accurate prediction of the cumulative fatigue damage at the time of measurement and facilitates studies on the implications of traffic growth. To test the accuracy of the virtual monitoring system, a steel bridge with a cable-stayed span in the Netherlands was used for testing.

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