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Acoustic emission monitoring of steel bridge members : final report.
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    Final report.
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    This report describes the results of a study to characterize the acoustic emission (AE) associated with steel cracking and various sources of noise in a typical bridge environment. It summarizes previous applications ofAE monitoring of steel bridges and describes the AE field testing of five bridges in Virginia, including extensive data and discussion of the field testing of the active cracking of a hanger on the Rte. 29 bridge over the Robinson River in Madison County. The study revealed that AE monitoring is sensitive to the acoustic energy emitted by steel bridge members during the formation and growth of cracks. It is the only method that can distinguish between active and benign cracks. It is also possible to discriminate between AE caused by crack growth and irrelevant noise. AE information can be significant in making repair or replacement decisions, and AE could be used for the continuous remote monitoring of critical bridge members or even entire bridges. A database developed from AE studies would allow the integration of real-time monitoring of the deterioration of steel bridge members into bridge management and decision making in lieu of frequent visual inspections.

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