skip to context

Civil Structural Health Monitoring

Modern structural design codes, as well as innovative materials and construction methods have transformed the way we build our buildings and bridges.  In this respect, recent decades have witnessed construction of longer span bridges, taller buildings, and larger dams.  Fiber Reinforced Composite materials are now increasingly being used for rehabilitation and retrofit of structures, and it is also possible to build structural concrete elements by 3D printing.   Machine learning and robotics will play a significant role on all aspects of civil infrastructures, from the development of materials to optimization of design parameters, and rapid construction of structural systems. 

Despite all the technological advances, 21st century has also witnessed a number of catastrophic structural failures.  Examples include, the 2007 catastrophic collapse of the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA with thirteen fatalities and 145 injuries.  The Polcevera viaduct in Genoa, Italy, commonly referred to after its designer Riccardo Morandi, partially collapsed in August of 2018 with forty-three fatalities. And more recently, the collapse of the only single-arch steel bridge in Taiwan, the Nanfang’ao Bridge, caused six fatalities, and injured 12.  These are only very few examples of recent bridge collapses, but disastrous collapses are not only limited to bridges.   The collapse of the Champlain Tower South in June of 2021, a 12-story condominium building in Surfside, Florida, USA involved ninety-eight fatalities and several injuries.  These devastating events remind us of the fragility and vulnerability of the structural systems, irrespective of their age, types, and locations.  Structures need to be monitored to assure safety, and to establish cost-effective life-cycle management strategies.  

Structural health monitoring (SHM) is emerging as an important tool for management of the public works infrastructure systems.  To a greater extent, recent advances in structural designs, and use of new construction materials call for efficient use of SHM techniques for condition assessment and maintenance programs.  There are many challenges involved in cost-effective use of SHM, especially for life-cycle management of bridges and buildings.  In addition to economic considerations, an effective SHM program requires interdisciplinary expertise for use and installation of sensors, data acquisition and management, and utilization of appropriate diagnostic methods for condition assessment of the structural systems.  Journal of Civil Structural Health Monitoring (JCSHM) is the only forum to address these issues with specific objective to provide interdisciplinary solutions for innovative monitoring of civil structures.  Recent articles in JCSHM have provided information about the use of practical techniques for monitoring of pipelines, dams, railways, bridges, buildings, and heritage structures.  JCSHM provides a unique resource serving the researchers, practitioners, and the owners of infrastructures.

Farhad Ansari © SpringerFarhad Ansari is a distinguished professor, 2019-2020 Presidential Fellow of the University of Illinois system, and the Christopher B. and Susan S. Burke chair of civil engineering at the University of Illinois, Chicago.  He has developed and employed a number of structural health monitoring systems for iconic bridges, including the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges in the New York City.  His specific field of expertise pertain to the development of fiber optic sensing techniques for structural systems.  He has over 350 publications, three US patents, and consulted on several projects including post collapse analysis of bridges and buildings in US, Europe, and Southeast Asia.