Measurement System for Structural Health Monitoring with High Time Synchronization Accuracy

Title: Measurement System for Structural Health Monitoring with High Time Synchronization Accuracy
Authors: Alvaro Araujo, Jaime García-Palacios, Javier Blesa, Francisco Tirado, Elena Romero, Avelino Samartín, Octavio Nieto-Taladriz
Published in: IEEE Transaction on Instrumentation and Measurement, vol 61,3
ISSN : 0018-9456
Date of Publication: October 2011
Digital Object Identifier : 10.1109/TIM.2011.2170889
Web: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/abs_all.jsp?arnumber=6061956&tag=1

Structural health monitoring (SHM) systems have excellent potential to improve the regular operation and maintenance of structures. Wireless networks (WNs) have been used to avoid the high cost of traditional generic wired systems. The most important limitation of SHM wireless systems is time-synchronization accuracy, scalability, and reliability. A complete wireless system for structural identification under environmental load is designed, implemented, deployed, and tested on three different real bridges. Our contribution ranges from the hardware to the graphical front end. System goal is to avoid the main limitations of WNs for SHM particularly in regard to reliability, scalability, and synchronization. We reduce spatial jitter to 125 ns, far below the 120 μs required for high-precision acquisition systems and much better than the 10-μs current solutions, without adding complexity. The system is scalable to a large number of nodes to allow for dense sensor coverage of real-world structures, only limited by a compromise between measurement length and mandatory time to obtain the final result. The system addresses a myriad of problems encountered in a real deployment under difficult conditions, rather than a simulation or laboratory test bed.

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