Smart RC elements for long-life monitoring of civil infrastructures

Daniele Zonta, Matteo Pozzi, Marco Forti, Oreste S. Bursi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

2 Citations (Scopus)


A research effort has been launched at the University of Trento, aimed at developing an innovative distributed construction system based on smart prefabricated concrete elements allowing for real-time condition assessment of civil infrastructures. So far, two reduced-scale prototypes have been produced, each consisting of a 0.2×0.3×5.6m RC beam specifically designed for permanent instrumentation with 8 long-gauge Fiber Optics Sensors (FOS) at the lower edge. The sensors employed are Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) -based and can measure finite displacements both in statics and dynamics. The acquisition module uses a single commercial interrogation unit and a software-controlled optical switch, allowing acquisition of dynamic multi-channel signals from FBG-FOS, with a sample frequency of 625 Hz per channel. The performance of the system underwent validation I n the laboratory. The scope of the experiment was to correlate changes in the dynamic response of the beams with different damage scenarios, using a direct modal strain approach. Each specimen was dynamically characterized in the undamaged state and in various damage conditions, simulating different cracking levels and recurrent deterioration scenarios, including concrete cover spalling and partial corrosion of the reinforcement. The location and the extent of damage are evaluated by calculating damage indices which take account of changes in frequency and in strain-mode-shapes. This paper presents in detail the results of the experiment and demonstrates how the damage distribution detected by the system is fully compatible with the damage extent appraised by inspection.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
EditorsM. Tomizuka
Place of PublicationBellingham
Number of pages12
EditionNovel Sensors III
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventSmart Structures and Materials 2005 - Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 7 Mar 200510 Mar 2005


ConferenceSmart Structures and Materials 2005 - Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • damage location
  • Fiber Bragg Grating
  • nonlinear vibration
  • smart elements
  • strain-mode-shapes

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