Mobile Bridge Testing Lab
Civil Engineering professor Mayrai Gindy, along with electrical engineering professors Kumaresan and Boudreaux-Bartels, received a grant from Champlin Foundations to develop a Mobile Bridge Testing Laboratory for undergradaute students. The objective of this project is to establish a self-contained, mobile instructional laboratory containing the instrumentation and processing power necessary to measure and analyze structural behavior under external and natural loads in an interesting and interactive manner. Students from the CVE and ELE departments will work together in small groups on challenging problems encountered in the area of structural health monitoring (SHM). The lab will be semi-mobile so that the equipment can be taken to key bridge sites in RI for students to gain experience obtaining “real” world measurements.
According to Dr. Gindy, one of the most important challenges facing structural engineers today is the development and implementation of effective techniques for detecting, diagnosing, and treating structural damage. To meet this challenge, future structural engineers must possess a true understanding of the behavior of structures in various conditions and under various static and dynamic loadings. Although structural analysis is a basic component of the undergraduate civil engineering curriculum, students are seldom provided the opportunity to instrument and test real structural components using state-of-the-art equipment.
By introducing current sensor technologies and structural testing practices to the undergraduate curriculum, URI civil engineering students will be better equipped for a seamless transition into a diverse and globally-oriented workforce. The proposed interdisciplinary approach between CVE and ELE faculty will bring a unique perspective to the processing and interpretation of structural response data. CVE students will learn advanced signal processing analysis, filter design and numerical modeling techniques for enhancing their ability to accurately assess structural behavior while ELE students will gain experience in instrumentation used to measure, record, process and analyze data collected in real world settings. This will serve as an academic model for developing multi-disciplinary partnerships within the engineering college departmental structure that is historically divided into traditional, independent engineering disciplines.
Equipment to be used in this lab includes accelerometers, tiltmeters, linear variable differential transducers, a data acquisition system, laser doppler vibrometer, a portable weigh-in-motion system, and a strain system. Ten computer stations will be available for processing of field data as well as a van equipped to house the various instrumentation units.