Load Rating of a Reinforced Concrete T-Beam Bridge Through Ambient Vibration Testing and Finite Element Model Updating

  • Abdou K. Ndong
  • Mehrdad S. Dizaji
  • Mohamad Alipour
  • Osman E. Ozbulut
  • Devin K. Harris
Conference paper
Part of the Conference Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Mechanics Series book series (CPSEMS)


As the load demands on highway bridges increases, it is essential that the load rating procedures reliably assess the condition of existing structures. In addition, conventional design office load rating techniques cannot be used for bridges without structural plans, which indicates the need for a more advanced load rating procedure. This paper presents a methodology to compute the live load-carrying capacity of reinforced concrete T-beam bridges, which can be applied for bridges with structural plans or with missing or limited design information. The method involves modal identification of bridge using ambient vibrations and finite element model updating using vibration characteristics for capacity estimation. A simply supported T-beam bridge located in Virginia is selected for field-testing to verify the proposed method. The bridge is composed of five spans of the same length, 12.95 m for each, with a total length of 65.4 m and a width of 8.864 m. A total of nine accelerometers are installed to bridge to collect acceleration data for 15 min at a sampling rate of 500 Hz. The modal properties of the bridge are determined using enhanced frequency domain decomposition technique. The initial finite element model of the bridge is updated such that the modal properties of the bridge match the field measured parameters. The load effects and capacity of the bridge are determined and used to calculate the load rating factor. The rating factors obtained from the proposed method and traditional design office load rating procedures are compared. The results indicate that the proposed method can reveal the reserve capacity of bridges.


Load rating Modal analysis Dynamic testing Vibrations 



This material is based upon the work supported by the Virginia Department of Transportation. The authors would like to thank Dr. Bernard L. Kassner of Virginia Transportation Research Council for his helps in conducting the vibration testing of the bridge.


  1. 1.
    Brownjohn, J.M., Moyo, P., Omenzetter, P., Lu, Y.: Assessment of highway bridge upgrading by dynamic testing and finite-element model updating. J. Bridg. Eng. 8(3), 162–172 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Wang, L., Chan, T.H.: Review of vibration-based damage detection and condition assessment of bridge structures using structural health monitoring. In: QUT Conference Proceedings (2009)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lee, J.J., Yun, C.B.: Damage diagnosis of steel girder bridges using ambient vibration data. Eng. Struct. 28(6), 912–925 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Gheitasi, A., Ozbulut, O.E., Usmani, S., Alipour, M., Harris, D.K.: Experimental and analytical vibration serviceability assessment of an in-service pedestrian bridge. Case Stud. Nondestruct. Test. Eval. 6, 79–88 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gul, M., Catbas, F.N.: Damage assessment with ambient vibration data using a novel time series analysis methodology. J. Struct. Eng. 137(12), 1518–1526 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    AASHTO: The Manual for Bridge Evaluation. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Washington, DC (2011)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Alipour, M., Harris, D.K., Ozbulut, O.E.: Vibration testing for bridge load rating. In: Dynamics of Civil Structures, vol. 2, pp. 175–184. Springer International Publishing, New York (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Brincker, R., Ventura, C., Andersen, P.: Damping estimation by frequency domain decomposition. In: 19th International Modal Analysis Conference (2001)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Shafiei Dizaji, M., Alipour, M., Harris, D.: Leveraging vision for structural identification – a digital image correlation based approach. In: International Digital Image Correlation Society Conference (iDICs), SEM Fall Conference, Philadelphia, PA, USA (8–11 Nov 2016)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Shafiei Dizaji, M., Harris, D., Alipour, M., Ozbulut, O.: En“vision”ing a novel approach for structural health monitoring – a model for full-field structural identification using 3D–digital image correlation. In: The 8th International Conference on Structural Health Monitoring of Intelligent Infrastructure, Bridbane, Australia (5–8 Dec 2017)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abdou K. Ndong
    • 1
  • Mehrdad S. Dizaji
    • 1
  • Mohamad Alipour
    • 1
  • Osman E. Ozbulut
    • 1
  • Devin K. Harris
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations