Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Degree Program

Civil Engineering, PhD

Committee Chair

Kim, Young Hoo

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Mohsen, J. P.

Committee Member

Mohsen, J. P.

Committee Member

Sun, Zhihui

Committee Member

Kielkopf, John

Author's Keywords

structural health monitoring; modal scaling; structural vibration


This research proposed and verified an innovative method to identify and locate structural damage using only the response of operational vibration, that is the displacement acquired by a non-contact optical method. The most efficient and economical way to detect damage within the structure is to monitor its structural health while in operation. However, the uncertainties and the randomness of ambient vibrations due to the operation and environments cause a challenge in conducting the operational analysis. Current technology limits the ability to collect data on the properties of the structure without the interruption of operation. Frequencies and mode shapes have been widely used in structural damage detection, but they are not sensitive enough and cannot provide sufficient information for identifying damage locations and their quantification. Therefore, the goal of this research is to design and verify a method to detect the damage, as well as its location and severity, of structures in operation without any physical contacts for data acquisition (i.e., non-contact based structural health monitoring (SHM)). Three algorithms are integrated into this SHM process. The first algorithm is the determination of structural characteristics (frequencies and mode shapes) of a vibrating structure from output-only data. Stochastic Subspace Identification (SSI) method is applied to measured displacements over time to extract the structural characteristics. The second algorithm is to estimate the scaling factor. The mode shapes obtained from the output-only model analysis are unscaled due to the absence of the information of input excitation forces. Mass Change Modal Scale (McMS) algorithm is used to estimate the modal scaling factors and determine the scaled mode shapes. The third algorithm is to estimate the structural system matrices (i.e., mass and stiffness matrices) and assess the damages. A Finite Element Model Updating (FEMU) is applied and the system matrices are updated from frequencies and scaled mode shapes. The damage within the structure can then be detected by analysing changes in mass and stiffness matrices. All three phases are verified by numerical simulation and laboratory experiments with deflections acquired by non-contact optical methods through video system. At last, to achieve the non-contact based SHM, a modal scaling method based on temperature change is proposed and verified by numerical simulation. Experimental program reveals that the proposed algorithm using McMS method is applicable to detect damage locations and their mass losses. With proposed non-contacted based SHM, the limitations of contact based sensor can be addressed, and the structural damage can be assessed without any interruption of structure operation.