SHM-informed life-cycle intelligent maintenance of fatigue-sensitive detail using Bayesian forecasting and Markov decision process

Li Lai, You Dong, Danny Smyl

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Civil and maritime engineering systems must be efficiently managed to control the failure risk at an acceptable level as their performance is gradually degraded throughout the operational life, caused by fatigue and corrosion. Structural health monitoring develops a timely capability to assess the structural condition and performance metrics. However, using actual long-term monitoring data to guide the life-cycle management under stochastic environments has not been sufficiently studied. To realize an optimal maintenance strategy within the service life, an integrated monitoring-based optimal management framework is developed on the basis of the partially observable Markov decision processes (POMDPs) and Bayesian forecasting. In the proposed framework, the stochastic fatigue processes are quantified by the state transition matrix. The Bayesian dynamic linear model is embedded in POMDPs as a continuous observation part to forecast the cycling impacts and estimate the deterioration rate using long-term dynamic strain responses. In addition, making use of the special features of the problem considered in this paper, an adaptive discretization strategy is proposed to alleviate the complexity of large discrete observed spaces in the POMDP. The applicability and feasibility of the framework are evaluated by intelligent maintenance of fatigue-sensitive components with real-world monitoring data. After solving the POMDP by an efficient offline solver, the results obtained in this paper demonstrate that structural interventions are uneconomical to extend the life when a welded detail is approaching its end of life due to the normal service. Furthermore, if multiple interventions are available, the framework can find optimal maintenance actions based on the trade-off between long-term utility and the corresponding cost. This framework as the prototype could also be adjusted to aid life-cycle intelligent maintenance of other types of components under different deterioration scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
JournalStructural Health Monitoring
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Bayesian dynamic linear models (BDLMs)
  • fatigue life assessment
  • life-cycle cost optimization
  • partially observable Markov decision processes (POMDPs)
  • Structural health monitoring (SHM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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