Suitable mathematical representations of the structures are available today for predicting the characteristics of the engineering structures. However, the computer simulations need to be corrected based on the measured data to minimize the discrepancy between the analytical predictions and test results. This correction is known as model updating. Therefore, an objective function is formulated in terms of the discrepancy between numerical and experimental quantities, and an optimization algorithm is employed to minimize the objective function.
Tracking structural integrity and estimating the damage nature in a structure is referred to as health monitoring. Finite element model updating can be a way of structural damage identification. If the model is updated so that it represents the healthy condition of the structure, it could be used as a base model for future condition assessment and damage detection. For this purpose, the data corresponding to the damaged condition of the structure is considered for the updating process. When the updating is done, the new estimated parameters indicate the damage in the structure.
For the model updating and health monitoring of the Memorial Bridge, a MATLAB-based model updating software developed at the University of New Hampshire is used. The software, called MUSTANG (Model Updating STructural ANalysis proGram), is linked to SAP2000 using its application programming interface (API) to perform parameter estimation for the bridge.
Written by Milad Mehrkash.