Presentation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA








In May 2018, Dr. Vahid Shahsavari participated in the Engineering Mechanics Institute Conference (EMI2018) in Cambridge, MA. He gave a talk about probability-based assessment of a tidal turbine deployment system* exposed to harsh environmental events. The results of this study have been used to develop an operational decision-making guide for turbine operation in response to environmental demands.

*The south pier of the Memorial Bridge is instrumented by a tidal turbine deployment system.

Fatigue Test

In a parallel project funded by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (Evaluation of Gusset-less Truss Connection to Aid Bridge Inspection and Condition Assessment), two scaled sections of a typical lower-chord gusset-less connection will be tested for fatigue loading at the UNH Structural Engineering Laboratory. The test setup in its current state, is shown below in Figure 1.



Figure 1 – Fatigue Test Setup



The purpose of these tests is to evaluate the fatigue performance of intact welds as well as welds with defects located along the bend radius of the connection. The connection specimen, shown below in Figure 2, is being exposed to cyclic loading ranging from 5,000 lbs to 105,000 lbs at a frequency of 3.5 Hz. This loading protocol is more severe than what the actual bridge connection experiences under heavy traffic. Since the weld is designed to have “infinite fatigue life,” the in-tact weld is not expected to fail. After one million cycles, if this is the case, it is planned to introduce damage to the weld to simulate a defect. The test will then continue until failure has occurred.




Figure 2 – Gusset-less Connection Specimen



The results of these fatigue testing are important for understanding and quantifying the fatigue performance of this unique connection, to inform not only Memorial Bridge inspection protocols but also the development of reliable numerical models that could be useful for long-term bridge management purposes. In addition, the results obtain from this study will provide valuable data useful to evaluate the potential incorporation of gusset-less connections into future bridge designs.

Written by: Fernanda Fischer, Duncan McGeehan, Shokoufeh Zargar

Students currently working on test: Duncan McGeehan, Shokoufeh Zargar, Andrew Lanza


Presentation at Northeast Bridge Preservation Partnership (NEBPP) Annual Meeting, New Brunswick, NJ

In September 2017, Dr. Vahid Shahsavari attended the Northeast Bridge Preservation Partnership (NEBPP) annual meeting in New Brunswick, NJ. The NEBPP is one of the four reginal partnerships of the Transportation System Preservation Technical Service Program (TSP2) which serves the interests in bridge preservation. In this event, Dr. Shahsavari introduced different aspects and components of the Living Bridge Project for technical audience participated from state and provincial DOTs, local agencies, contractors, suppliers, consultants, and academia.


Erin Bell and Martin Wosnik attend NSF:PFI Grantee Workshop

From June 5-7, 2017, Professors Erin Bell and Martin Wosnik attend the NSF:PFI Grantee Workshop in Atlanta, GA. This workshop included over 600 attendees representing the grantees from the PFI: Building Innovation Capacity and the PFI: Accelerating Innovative Research programs. Professors Bell and Wosnik were able to share the accomplishments of the Living Bridge project with NSF staff and other grantees. The Living Bridge project team is planning on building on some of these connections to create future collaborations.

Presentation at the University of Johannesburg-Auckland

On July 3 2017, Professor Erin Bell presented the Living Bridge Project to the civil and environmental
engineering faculty at the University of Johannesburg-Auckland. Professor Bell was in Johannesburg to
support the First Avenue Institute Winter Engineering Camp for Girls. She hopes to develop a research
collaboration between the two universities to continue to support the outreach mission. There was
significant interest from the faculty at UJ to collaborate on multiple components of the Living Bridge









Maryam Mashayekhizadeh Presents at ASNT

In October 2016, Maryam presented the paper “Structural Health Monitoring and Design Verification of Tidal Turbine Support Structure” in 75 the Annual Conference of American Society of Non-destructive Testing (ASNT) in Long Beach, Ca. She had a chance to introduce the Tidal Turbine project and talk about to other participants about monitoring issues and various inspection methods which are more appropriate for the Tidal Turbine Deployment system.

In March 2017, Maryam presented a paper on “Instrumentation and Structural Health Monitoring of a Vertical Lift Bridge” in 26 the Research ASNT Symposium, Jacksonville, Fl. She introduced the monitoring plan of the Memorial Bridge, the challenges, objectives and the procedure for designing the instrumentation plan and getting familiar about modern methods of monitoring the bridges. She is also the Recipient of the Annual ASNT travel grant for participating in the conference.

UNH Graduate Student Presents at Symposium in France

Master’s degree student, Ian Gagnon presented his work on the UNH Living Bridge – Tidal Energy Conversion System at the International Network on Offshore Renewable Energy (INORE) 2016 European Symposium in Paimpont France. He presented the work that he has done one the resource assessment for the tidal energy conversion system as well as the design of the turbine deployment platform. He also discussed other aspects of the project such as how the estuarine and structural health monitoring sensors will be used to increase awareness about the US’s critical energy and transportation infrastructure. During the week long conference he got to know and hear about the research of early stage marine renewable energy researchers from around the world. The conference included a technical trip to the port of San Nazaire where GE had just finished construction of one of the nacelles for the Block Island wind project, the US’s first offshore windfarm. Ian worked on a collaborative activity with three other researchers at the conference where they used Metocean Analytics by Open Ocean, a marine data intelligence platform, to site and perform a resource assessment for a theoretical combined wind and tidal energy conversion device array. Ian is looking forward to keeping in touch with all of the other researchers he met and is planning on attending the 2016 North American  Symposium in Maine.

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Living Bridge Science Nation – NSF Special Report

Living Bridge Project shows off potential of “smart” infrastructure to provide services

Ordinary bridge equipped with ability to self-diagnose and report back on livability issues, such as traffic and pollution
Engineers at the University of New Hampshire are raising the bar on what 21st century infrastructure systems can do. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), they’re outfitting the Memorial Bridge, which links Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Kittery, Maine, with sensors to monitor everything from structural stability to traffic to environmental health. The bridge’s new sensors will even be powered by tidal energy, a renewable energy source…

NSF Special Report – Living Bridge Science Nation Full Article

UNH Professors Present to Retirement Community

On June 19, 2017, Professors Erin Bell and Martin Wosnik gave a seminar at the RiverWoods senior living community in Exeter, NH. The seminar, The “Living” Bridge: The Future of Smart, Sustainable, User-Centered Transportation Infrastructure”, covered all aspects of the Living Bridge project including the structural health monitoring, tidal energy conversion and community outreach. The seminar was attended by over 60 RiverWoods residents and spawned lively conversation about the future of transportation in the US.