Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Document Type



Most vibration-based damage identification methods make use of measurements directly from bridge structures with attached sensors. However, the vehicle moving on the bridge can serve as both an active actuator and a response receiver. This dissertation aimed to develop new methodologies to eventually detect bridge damages such as scour using the dynamic response of the vehicle. To reach the final objective, a framework of damage identification was developed first, which gave a guideline on the three crucial steps for damage detection. An optimization method was proposed that combines the Genetic Algorithm (GA) and the First Order (FO) method. It has the advantages of the global and local algorithms and converges faster than the traditional method using any initial values. Secondly, a new methodology using the transmissibility of vehicle and bridge responses was developed to detect bridge damages. The transmissibility of a simplified vehicle-bridge coupled (VBC) system was analyzed theoretically and numerically to study the feasibility of this method. To obtain the transmissibility, two methods were proposed using two “static” vehicles on the bridge. Then, a tractor-trailer test system was designed to obtain reliable responses and extract bridge modal properties from the dynamic response of moving vehicles. The test vehicle consists of a tractor and two following trailers. The residual responses of the two trailers were used, which successfully eliminated the roughness and vehicle driving effect and extracted the bridge modal properties. This methodology was applied on a field bridge and revealed a good performance. Most previous studies of bridge scour focus on the scour causes instead of its consequences. Finally, in this dissertation the developed methodologies were applied to detect scour damage from the response of bridge and/or vehicles. The scour effect on a single pile was studied and methods of scour damage detections were proposed. A monitoring system using fiber optic sensors was designed and tested in the laboratory and is being applied to a field bridge. Finally, the scour effect on the response of the entire bridge and the traveling vehicle was also investigated under the bridge-vehicle-wave interaction, which in turn was used to detect the bridge scour.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Cai, Steve C.S.