Damage detection of shear connectors in bridge structures with transmissibility in frequency domain

Jun Li, Hong Hao, Yong Xia, Hong Ping Zhu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Shear connectors are generally used to link the slab and girder together in slab-on-girder bridge structures. Damage of shear connectors in such structures will result in shear slippage between the slab and girder, which significantly reduces the load-carrying capacity of bridges. A damage detection approach based on transmissibility in frequency domain is proposed in this paper to identify the damage of shear connectors in slab-on-girder bridge structures with or without reference data from the undamaged structure. The transmissibility, which is an inherent system characteristic, indicates the relationship between two sets of response vectors in frequency domain. Measured input force and acceleration responses from hammer tests are analyzed to obtain the frequency response functions at the slab and girder sensor locations by the experimental modal analysis. The transmissibility matrix that relates the slab response to the girder response is then derived. By comparing the transmissibility vectors in undamaged and damaged states, the damage level of shear connectors can be identified. When the measurement data from the undamaged structure are not available, a study with only the measured response data in the damaged state for the condition assessment of shear connectors is also conducted. Numerical and experimental studies on damage detection of shear connectors linking a concrete slab to two steel girders are conducted to validate the accuracy and efficiency of the proposed approach. The results demonstrate that the proposed method can be used to identify shear connector damages accurately and efficiently. The proposed method is also applied to the condition evaluation of shear connectors in a real composite bridge with in-field testing data.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1350061
JournalInternational Journal of Structural Stability and Dynamics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014


  • Damage detection
  • frequency response function
  • shear connectors
  • slab-on-girder bridge
  • structural monitoring
  • transmissibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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