Rapid Condition Screening of Bridges by Falling Weight Deflectometer

The proposed project aims to develop an experimental method for rapidly determining the condition of a bridge in terms of its stiffness through the use of a standard Falling Weight Deflectometer (FWD). The development of a rapid and reliable experimental means for quantitatively establishing the condition of a bridge offers great promise for improving the rationality and reliability of bridge management decisions. Presently, such management decisions must be made on the basis of structural condition evaluations using the results of visual inspection. Such evaluations are subject to many limitations and uncertainties that result from the the use of visual inspection data. It is believed that many of the limitations and uncertainties in the condition assessment of structures can be addressed by injecting quantitative experimental data into the condition assessment process. The proposer believes that the FWD can be utilized to rapidly perform dynamic testing of a bridge structure that will yield quantitative data that reflects the in-situ local and global condition. Such data will not only provide a more realistic and reliable assessment of bridge condition, it will also provide a rational baseline of the structure's condition that can be subsequently tracked and evaluated in subsequent tests to provide quantitative measures of any changes in condition relative to that baseline.