A previous NITC grant (#985 Dynamic Evaluation of Transportation Structures with iPod-Based Data Acquisition) supported education and research development at Oregon Tech in the area of mobile devices in sensor network applications to evaluate transportation structures via dynamic parameters like natural frequency and damping ratio. The goal of the previous grant was to determine the feasibility of using mobile devices in structural health monitoring applications and to build an educational module to introduce students to this field. Given the positive results of this research using ambient structural vibrations, the team would like to develop the concept further and employ forced harmonic vibration to excite various modes of vibration in structures, as this method is proven to be more accurate than ambient vibration.
The ultimate goal of this grant request is to fully develop a structural evaluation toolkit, based on a mobile device (iPod) sensor network, that could be used to supplement bridge (and other transportation structure) inspection and assist in structural evaluations after significant events like a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake. Such a toolkit would promote environmental sustainability, safety and transportation infrastructure resiliency by more simply and accurately measuring transportation structure performance and supporting transportation asset management decisions. The toolkit would seek to move structural health monitoring out of the academic and consulting realm (higher skilled workers) and into broader and more regular use by lower skilled inspection groups at departments of transportation.