Methodology for measuring the vertical displacements of bridges using fibre Bragg grating sensors

M. H. Yau, T. H T Chan, D. P. Thambiratnam, Hwa Yaw Tam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


In many bridges, vertical displacements are one of the most relevant parameters for structural health monitoring in both the short- and long-terms. Bridge managers around the globe are always looking for a simple way to measure vertical displacements of bridges. However, it is diff cult to carry out such measurements. On the other hand, in recent years, with the advancement of fibre-optic technologies, fibre Bragg grating (FBG) sensors are more commonly used in structural health monitoring due to their outstanding advantages including multiplexing capability, immunity of electromagnetic interference as well as high resolution and accuracy. For these reasons, a methodology for measuring the vertical displacements of bridges using FBG sensors is proposed. The methodology includes two approaches. One of which is based on curvature measurements while the other utilises inclination measurements from successfully developed FBG tilt sensors. A series of simulation tests of a full-scale bridge was conducted. It shows that both approaches can be implemented to measure the vertical displacements for bridges with various support conditions, varying stiffness along the spans and without any prior known loading. A static loading beam test with increasing loads at the mid-span and a beam test with different loading locations were conducted to measure vertical displacements using FBG strain sensors and tilt sensors. The results show that the approaches can successfully measure vertical displacements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-84
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Journal of Structural Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2013


  • Bridges
  • Curvature measurement
  • Fibre Bragg grating (FBG) sensors
  • Structural health monitoring (SHM)
  • Tilt sensors
  • Vertical displacement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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