Energy harvesting for monitoring bridges over their operational life

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Cahill, Paul
Hanley, Ciaran
Jaksic, Vesna
Mathewson, Alan
Pakrashi, Vikram
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The use of energy harvesting materials for large infrastructure is a promising and growing field. In this regard, the use of such harvesters for the purpose of structural health monitoring of bridges has been proposed in recent times as one of the feasible options since the deployment of them can remove the necessity of an external power source. This paper addresses the performance issue of such monitors over the life-cycle of a bridge as it deteriorates and the live load on the structure increases. In this regard, a Lead Zirconate Titanate (PZT) material is considered as the energy harvesting material and a comparison is carried out over the operational life of a reinforced concrete bridge. The evolution of annual average daily traffic (AADT) is taken into consideration, as is the degradation of the structure over time, due to the effects of corrosion. Evolution of such harvested energy is estimated over the life-cycle of the bridge and the sensitivity of harvested energy is investigated for varying rates of degradation and changes in AADT. The study allows for designing and understanding the potential of energy harvesters as a health monitor for bridges. This paper also illustrates how the natural growth of traffic on a bridge over time can accentuate the identification of damage, which is desirable for an ageing structure. The paper also assesses the impact and effects of deployment of harvesters in a bridge as a part of its design process, considering performance over the entire life-cycle versus a deployment at a certain age of the structure.
Bridge , Energy harvesting , Structural health monitoring , Degradation , Life-cycle , Annual average daily traffic
Cahill, P., Hanley, C., Jaksic, V., Mathewson, A. and Pakrashi, V. (2016) 'Energy harvesting for monitoring bridges over their operational life', Proceedings of the 8th European Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring (EWSHM 2016), Bilbao, Spain, 5-8 July.
© 2016, the Authors.