Infrastructure Simulation, Sensing and Evaluation Laboratory Research

Ongoing Research Projects

  • Load Rating Strategies for Bridges with Missing or As-Built Information

    Role: Principal Investigator
    Year: 2014-present
    Sponsor: Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research

    This study focused on developing rational engineering approaches for load rating structures within the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) inventory for which limited as-built information is available. For these types of structures, unknowns primarily consistent of 1) material parameters such as modulus of elasticity of concrete, strength of concrete, modulus of elasticity of reinforcing steel, and yield strength of reinforcing steel; as well as 2) reinforcing steel details, such as area of reinforcement, number of reinforcing bars, and placement of reinforcement bars. Building from these bridge population demographics, the technical study emphasizes two main approaches: 1) data-driven screening method which estimates likely posting status based on historical PONTIS data; and 2) experimental/model-driven approaches that emphasize estimating unknown characteristics of these types of structures for use in a traditional analytical load rating.

    The experimental/model-drive phase of the investigation focused on providing a series of methods that can be used by VDOT to estimate these unknown parameters, which can ultimately be used to provide a rational estimate of load ratings. The first group of methods was based on a structural identification framework, where experimental data is used to update a preliminary finite element model and converge on unknown parameters. The second group of methods leveraged dynamic response characteristics derived from vibration testing to arrive at estimates of bridge stiffness and analytical approximations to converge on unknown parameters.

  • Live Load Testing Hybrid Composite Beam Bridge Systems Route 205 over Tides Mill Stream (Phase II)

    Role: Principal Investigator
    Year: 2017-present
    Sponsor: Virginia Transportation Research Council

    This study served as a follow on study of the hybrid composite beams (HCB) bridge constructed over Tides Mill Stream (Route 205) in Colonial Beach, VA. In the previous study, VDOT explored the feasibility of using a relatively new technology, hybrid composite beams (HCB), as a solution for short to medium span bridges. The HCB system can be described simplistically as a tied concrete arch encased in a FRP shell and provides a lightweight, low maintenance bridge solution. In the previous investigation, live load testing focused on evaluating the lateral load distribution, dynamic load allowance, and internal load sharing behaviors. This study included a second round of live load testing to evaluate behavior changes of these phenomena since the last round of testing.

  • Preserving Coastal Infrastructure through the Design and Implementation of Image-Based Structural Health Monitoring (iSHM)

    Role: Principal Investigator
    Year: 2016-present
    Sponsor: Mid-Atlantic Transportation Sustainability Center – University Transportation Center

    Assessment represents one of the key components of the broader framework of structural health monitoring (SHM) and is essential to an overall mission of transportation sustainability, specifically infrastructure sustainability. Within the context of infrastructure preservation, assessment provides owners and infrastructure managers with a basis to make performance-based decisions and allocate resources. Integrated within the context of assessment is the ability to measure condition state and translate these observations into descriptions of behavior. Historically, much of this assessment has relied heavily on visual inspection as the standard method to characterize condition state, but research has shown that visual inspections yield results that are subjective and somewhat unreliable. While there has been a major push in the area of sensing and sensors, the advancement of vision based sensing has also progressed at a rapid pace. While traditional visual assessment has a number of limitations when used in an subjective manner, vision as a quantitative tool has a number benefits for assessment.

    The investigation leverage advances in vision-based assessment to develop and approach for integration into the domain of structural health monitoring. Within the scope of this work, the capabilities of vision-based deformation measurement approaches for describing condition state, system behavior, damage identification, and model updating are evaluated.

  • Extending Image and Video Based Measurement to Characterize Global Structural Response of Highway Infrastructure Components

    Role: Principal Investigator
    Year: 2017-present
    Sponsor: Virginia Transportation Research Council and Mid-Atlantic Transportation Sustainability Center – University Transportation Center

    This research explores image and video characterization techniques that can be used to assess in service infrastructure components non-invasively. This work aligns with a thrust in the emerging area of image-based structural health monitoring (iSHM) and offers the potential for a low-cost high impact assessment technique for characterizing the operational response of existing structures (i.e. bridge, culverts, and ancillary structures). The advancement of vision based sensing has the potential to address these needs and when evaluated as a quantitative tool it has a number benefits for assessment.

  • Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP)

    Role: Sub-contractor (Co-PI: J. Chris Carroll – University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
    Year: Awarded 2014 (for 2019-2020)
    Sponsor: U.S. Department of Education

    This project focuses on the delivery of a summer program at the University of Virginia (UVA) to support the GEARUP project “K-12 Student Engagement in STEM through Problem and Projectbased Pedagogical Approaches” in collaboration with the Lafayette Parrish School System and St. Louis University. The UVA team  will be responsible for creating an on-grounds residential summer experience for a group of rising 11th grade students with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The summer experience will be structured to accommodate approximately 25-30 students over this two-year period and will specifically include those transitioning from the 11th grade to the 12th grade. The summer experience will focus on establishing a weeklong residential program aimed at exposing students to the various disciplines in engineering through lectures and demonstrations lead by UVA faculty, staff and students. The program will provide an introduction to the theory and practice of engineering through lectures, labs, and exercises in engineering design, applied math, and basic science. At the core of the summer experience will be a creative design project that focuses on a practical engineering challenge and exposes students to a variety of facets including problem solving, engineering design, budgeting, teamwork, public speaking, and professionalism.

Past Research Projects 

Past Research Projects (Michigan Tech)