Accounting for the Impact of Thermal Loads in Nondestructive Bridge Testing

Conference Paper


  • This paper presents a research project currently funded by the Research Advisory Council of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation to develop a framework for bridge condition assessment integrating instrumentation and structural modeling for highway bridge decision-making and management. Nondestructive testing on bridges is a large part of a comprehensive structural health monitoring program. Another key component of structural health monitoring is finite element model for evaluation of the measured responses through model updating and parameter estimation. One method of nondestructive testing is a controlled static load test, where a pre-weighed truck is placed at predetermined locations on the bridge and the response is measured via strain, rotation, and deflection measurements. The location, wheel weights, and time at each location are precisely recorded during the entire duration of the load test. However, there is another load that can have more of an impact on the bridge response than applied static load, and that is thermal loading due to temperature change. It has been observed in three different load tests at Rollins Road Bridge in Rollinsford, NH that temperature effects mask the load applied to the bridge over the duration of the load test. These temperature effects either need to be corrected for, using an empirical correction, or included into the structural predictive model to get accurate results for use in a parameter estimation algorithm and model updating protocol to determine the structural health of the bridge.
  • Authors

  • Bell, Erin
  • Sipple, Jesse
  • Presented At Event


  • 09-2002