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Scour damage detection and structural health monitoring of a laboratory-scaled bridge using a vibration energy harvesting device

Fitzgerald, Paul; Malekjafarian, Abdollah; Bhowmik, Basuraj; Prendergast, Luke; Cahill, Paul; Kim, Chul-Woo; Hazra, Budhaditya; Pakrashi, Vikram; Obrien, Eugene


Paul Fitzgerald

Abdollah Malekjafarian

Basuraj Bhowmik

Paul Cahill

Chul-Woo Kim

Budhaditya Hazra

Vikram Pakrashi

Eugene Obrien


A vibration-based bridge scour detection procedure using a cantilever-based piezoelectric energy harvesting device (EHD) is proposed here. This has an advantage over an accelerometer-based method in that potentially, the requirement for a power source can be negated with the only power requirement being the storage and/or transmission of the data. Ideally, this source of power could be fulfilled by the EHD itself, although much research is currently being done to explore this. The open-circuit EHD voltage is used here to detect bridge frequency shifts arising due to scour. Using one EHD attached to the central bridge pier, both scour at the pier of installation and scour at another bridge pier can be detected from the EHD voltage generated during the bridge free-vibration stage, while the harvester is attached to a healthy pier. The method would work best with an initial modal analysis of the bridge structure in order to identify frequencies that may be sensitive to scour. Frequency components corresponding to harmonic loading and electrical interference arising from experiments are removed using the filter bank property of singular spectrum analysis (SSA). These frequencies can then be monitored by using harvested voltage from the energy harvesting device and successfully utilised towards structural health monitoring of a model bridge affected by scour.


Fitzgerald, P., Malekjafarian, A., Bhowmik, B., Prendergast, L., Cahill, P., Kim, C., …Obrien, E. (2019). Scour damage detection and structural health monitoring of a laboratory-scaled bridge using a vibration energy harvesting device. Sensors, 19(11), 21.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 31, 2019
Online Publication Date Jun 6, 2019
Publication Date Jun 6, 2019
Deposit Date Jun 6, 2019
Journal Sensors
Electronic ISSN 1424-8220
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 11
Article Number 2572
Pages 21
Keywords bridge; scour; energy harvesting; damage detection; structural health monitoring; singular spectrum analysis; frequency shifts
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