Use of Photogrammetry Aided Damage Detection for Residual Strength Estimation of Corrosion Damaged Prestressed Concrete Bridge Girders
Neeli, Yeshwanth Sai
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Corrosion damage reduces the load-carrying capacity of bridges which poses a threat to passenger safety. The objective of this research was to reduce the resources involved in conventional bridge inspections which are an important tool in the condition assessment of bridges and to help in determining if live load testing is necessary. This research proposes a framework to link semi-automated damage detection on prestressed concrete bridge girders with the estimation of their residual flexural capacity. The framework was implemented on four full-scale corrosion damaged girders from decommissioned bridges in Virginia. 3D point clouds of the girders reconstructed from images using Structure from Motion (SfM) approach were textured with images containing cracks detected at pixel level using a U-Net (Fully Convolutional Network). Spalls were detected by identifying the locations where normals associated with the points in the 3D point cloud deviated from being perpendicular to the reference directions chosen, by an amount greater than a threshold angle. 3D textured mesh models, overlaid with the detected cracks and spalls were used as 3D damage maps to determine reduced cross-sectional areas of prestressing strands to account for the corrosion damage as per the recommendations of Naito, Jones, and Hodgson (2011). Scaling them to real-world dimensions enabled the measurement of any required dimension, eliminating the need for physical contact. The flexural capacities of a box beam and an I-beam estimated using strain compatibility analysis were validated with the actual capacities at failure sections determined from four destructive tests conducted by Al Rufaydah (2020). Along with the reduction in the cross-sectional areas of strands, limiting the ultimate strain that heavily corroded strands can develop was explored as a possible way to improve the results of the analysis. Strain compatibility analysis was used to estimate the ultimate rupture strain, in the heavily corroded bottommost layer prestressing strands exposed before the box beam was tested. More research is required to associate each level of strand corrosion with an average ultimate strain at which the corroded strands rupture. This framework was found to give satisfactory estimates of the residual strength. Reduction in resources involved in current visual inspection practices and eliminating the need for physical access, make this approach worthwhile to be explored further to improve the output of each step in the proposed framework.
General Audience Abstract
Corrosion damage is a major concern for bridges as it reduces their load carrying capacity. Bridge failures in the past have been attributed to corrosion damage. The risk associated with corrosion damage caused failures increases as the infrastructure ages. Many bridges across the world built forty to fifty years ago are now in a deteriorated condition and need to be repaired and retrofitted. Visual inspections to identify damage or deterioration on a bridge are very important to assess the condition of the bridge and determine the need for repairing or for posting weight restrictions for the vehicles that use the bridge. These inspections require close physical access to the hard-to-reach areas of the bridge for physically measuring the damage which involves many resources in the form of experienced engineers, skilled labor, equipment, time, and money. The safety of the personnel involved in the inspections is also a major concern. Nowadays, a lot of research is being done in using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) like drones for bridge inspections and in using artificial intelligence for the detection of cracks on the images of concrete and steel members. Girders or beams in a bridge are the primary longitudinal load carrying members. Concrete inherently is weak in tension. To address this problem, High Strength steel reinforcement (called prestressing steel or prestressing strands) in prestressed concrete beams is pre-loaded with a tensile force before the application of any loads so that the regions which will experience tension under the service loads would be subjected to a pre-compression to improve the performance of the beam and delay cracking. Spalls are a type of corrosion damage on concrete members where portions of concrete fall off (section loss) due to corrosion in the steel reinforcement, exposing the reinforcement to the environment which leads to accelerated corrosion causing a loss of cross-sectional area and ultimately, a rupture in the steel. If the process of detecting the damage (cracks, spalls, exposed or severed reinforcement, etc.) is automated, the next logical step that would add great value would be, to quantify the effect of the damage detected on the load carrying capacity of the bridges. Using a quantified estimate of the remaining capacity of a bridge, determined after accounting for the corrosion damage, informed decisions can be made about the measures to be taken. This research proposes a stepwise framework to forge a link between a semi-automated visual inspection and residual capacity evaluation of actual prestressed concrete bridge girders obtained from two bridges that have been removed from service in Virginia due to extensive deterioration. 3D point clouds represent an object as a set of points on its surface in three dimensional space. These point clouds can be constructed either using laser scanning or using Photogrammetry from images of the girders captured with a digital camera. In this research, 3D point clouds are reconstructed from sequences of overlapping images of the girders using an approach called Structure from Motion (SfM) which locates matched pixels present between consecutive images in the 3D space. Crack-like features were automatically detected and highlighted on the images of the girders that were used to build the 3D point clouds using artificial intelligence (Neural Network). The images with cracks highlighted were applied as texture to the surface mesh on the point cloud to transfer the detail, color, and realism present in the images to the 3D model. Spalls were detected on 3D point clouds based on the orientation of the normals associated with the points with respect to the reference directions. Point clouds and textured meshes of the girders were scaled to real-world dimensions facilitating the measurement of any required dimension on the point clouds, eliminating the need for physical contact in condition assessment. Any cracks or spalls that went unidentified in the damage detection were visible on the textured meshes of the girders improving the performance of the approach. 3D textured mesh models of the girders overlaid with the detected cracks and spalls were used as 3D damage maps in residual strength estimation. Cross-sectional slices were extracted from the dense point clouds at various sections along the length of each girder. The slices were overlaid on the cross-section drawings of the girders, and the prestressing strands affected due to the corrosion damage were identified. They were reduced in cross-sectional area to account for the corrosion damage as per the recommendations of Naito, Jones, and Hodgson (2011) and were used in the calculation of the ultimate moment capacity of the girders using an approach called strain compatibility analysis. Estimated residual capacities were compared to the actual capacities of the girders found from destructive tests conducted by Al Rufaydah (2020). Comparisons are presented for the failure sections in these tests and the results were analyzed to evaluate the effectiveness of this framework. More research is to be done to determine the factors causing rupture in prestressing strands with different degrees of corrosion. This framework was found to give satisfactory estimates of the residual strength. Reduction in resources involved in current visual inspection practices and eliminating the need for physical access, make this approach worthwhile to be explored further to improve the output of each step in the proposed framework.
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