This paper proposes an innovative method for selection of measurement sets in static parameter identification of concrete or steel bridges. This method is proved as a systematic tool to address the first steps of Structural System Identification procedures by observability techniques: the selection of adequate measurement sets. The observability trees show graphically how the unknown estimates are successively calculated throughout the recursive process of the observability analysis. The observability trees can be proved as an intuitive and powerful tool for measurement selection in beam bridges that can also be applied in complex structures, such as cable-stayed bridges. Nevertheless, in these structures, the strong link among structural parameters advises to assume a set of simplifications to increase the tree intuitiveness. In addition, a set of guidelines are provided to facilitate the representation of the observability trees in this kind of structures. These guidelines are applied in bridges of growing complexity to explain how the characteristics of the geometry of the structure (e.g. deck inclination, type of pylon-deck connection, or the existence of stay cables) affect the observability trees. The importance of the observability trees is justified by a statistical analysis of measurement sets randomly selected. This study shows that, in the analyzed structure, the probability of selecting an adequate measurement set with a minimum number of measurements at random is practically negligible. Furthermore, even bigger measurement sets might not provide adequate SSI of the unknown parameters. Finally, to show the potential of the observability trees, a large-scale concrete cable-stayed bridge is also analyzed. The comparison with the number of measurements required in the literature shows again the advantages of using the proposed method.
Most of the methods presented in the literature to define the target service stresses (Objective Service Stage, OSS) of cable-stayed bridges rarely include the time-dependent phenomena effects. Nevertheless, especially in concrete structures, this assumption might be on the unsafe side because time-dependent phenomena usually modify service stresses. To fill this gap, this paper studies the time-dependent phenomena effects into service stresses of concrete cable-stayed bridges. After illustrating the important role of these phenomena in an asymmetrical cable-stayed bridge without backstay, a new method to include their effects into the OSS is presented. An important issue to be considered in this method is the target time in which the OSS is defined to be achieved. The application of this method to two different structures showed the convenience of defining the OSS to be achieved at early times because that way the envelope of service stresses is reduced.
Crack opening governs many transfer properties that play a pivotal role in durability analyses. Instead of trying to combine continuum and discrete models in computational analyses, it would be attractive to derive from the continuum approach an estimate of crack opening, without considering the explicit description of a discontinuous displacement field in the computational model. This is the prime objective of this contribution. The derivation is based on the comparison between two continuous variables: the distribution if the effective non local strain that controls damage and an analytical distribution of the effective non local variable that derives from a strong discontinuity analysis. Close to complete failure, these distributions should be very close to each other. Their comparison provides two quantities: the displacement jump across the crack [U] and the distance between the two profiles. This distance is an error indicator defining how close the damage distribution is from that corresponding to a crack surrounded by a fracture process zone. It may subsequently serve in continuous/discrete models in order to define the threshold below which the continuum approach is close enough to the discrete one in order to switch descriptions. The estimation of the crack opening is illustrated on a one-dimensional example and the error between the profiles issued from discontinuous and FE analyses is found to be of a few percents close to complete failure.