The last few decades have seen an amazing boost in the number of existing civil-engineering structures as well as in the resistance that is required of them. Among these are larger bridges for heavier trucks, longer tunnels for accommodating more traffic, safer pipelines for transporting different materials, and wind turbines with an increased efficiency and higher capacity.
As these structures need to withstand the exponential increase of applied loads, impacts or environmental burdens, the assessment of the resulting structural behavior is becoming mandatory so that faults can be detected in the early stages and safety is guaranteed.
Visual inspections do not give enough information to extend the structures’ lifetime, but by monitoring the structural health, any anomalies can be detected in time. This will optimize maintenance and reduce operating costs.
With most industries still using reactive maintenance (run until failure) as an approach, the improvement of inspection techniques and failure prediction systems that have lower Operation and Maintenance (O&M) costs emerges as a top priority on the structures’ management agenda.
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