Design of a robust high-rate wireless sensor network for static and dynamic structural monitoring

FREE-DOWNLOAD MJ Whelan… – Journal of Intelligent Material Systems …, 2009
Over recent years, there has been much interest in the use of low-cost wireless transceivers for communication of sensor data to alleviate the expense of widely-distributed cablebased sensors in structural monitoring systems. However, while the number of unique wireless sensor platforms has continued to expand rapidly, the lack of success in replicating the number of deployed sensors and sampling rates utilized in previous cablebased systems has led to disillusionment over their use for this application. This paper presents a wireless sensing system designed for concurrent measurement of both static and dynamic structural response through strain transducers, accelerometers, and temperature sensors. The network protocol developed supports real-time, high-rate data acquisition from large wireless sensor arrays with essentially no data loss. The current network software enables high-rate acquisition from up to forty channels across twenty wireless units on a single peer-to-peer network with system expansion enabled through additional networks operating simultaneously on adjacent communication channels. Elements of the system design have been specifically tailored towards addressing condition assessment of highway bridges through strain-based load ratings as well as vibration-based dynamic analysis. However, the flexible system architecture enables the system to serve essentially as an off-the-shelf solution for a wide array of wireless sensing tasks. The wireless sensing units and network performance have been validated through laboratory tests as well as dense large-scale field deployments on an in-service highway bridge.