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Smartphone-based bridge monitoring through vehicle-bridge interaction: analysis and experimental assessment


In this study, the results of a vast experimental campaign on the applicability of a smartphone-based technique for bridge monitoring are presented. Specifically, the vehicle-bridge interaction (VBI)-based approach is exploited as a cost-effective means to estimate the natural frequencies of bridges, with the final aim of possibly developing low-cost and diffused infrastructure monitoring system. The analysis is performed using a common hybrid vehicle, fully equipped with classical piezoelectric accelerometers and a smartphone MEMS accelerometer, to record its vertical accelerations while passing over the bridge. In this regard, the experimental campaign is carried out considering the vehicle moving with a constant velocity on a bridge in the city of Palermo (Italy). Appropriate identification procedures are then employed to determine the modal data of the bridge from the recorded accelerations. Further, comparisons with the results of a standard Operational Modal Analysis procedure, using accelerometers directly mounted on the structure, are presented. Experimental VBI-based analyses are performed also considering the effect of several different vehicle velocities. Further, the applicability of smartphone-based sensor data is investigated, exploiting the possibility of using up-to-date smartphone accelerometers for recording the vehicle accelerations. In this regard, comparison between piezoelectric accelerometers and MEMS ones is performed to assess the reliability of these sensors for the determination of bridge modal properties.