Strain monitoring based bridge reliability assessment using parametric Bayesian mixture model

Y. Q. Ni, R. Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Bridge condition assessment by use of structural health monitoring (SHM) data has been recognized as a promising approach towards the condition-based preventive maintenance. In-service bridges are normally subjected to multiple types of loads such as highway traffic, railway traffic, wind and thermal effect, resulting in heterogeneous and multimodal data structure of strain/stress responses. This study aims to develop an SHM-based bridge reliability assessment procedure in terms of parametric Bayesian mixture modelling. The parametric mixture model admits representation of multimodal structural responses, while the Bayesian paradigm enables both aleatory and epistemic uncertainties to be accounted for in modelling. By defining appropriate priors for the mixture parameters that are viewed as random variables to interpret the model uncertainty, an analytical form of the full conditional posteriors is derived. A Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm in conjunction with Bayes factor is explored to determine the optimal model order and estimate the joint posterior of the mixture parameters. In full compliance with the Bayesian framework, a conditional reliability index is elicited with the parametric Bayesian mixture model by using the first-order reliability method. The estimated value of the reliability index, which serves as a quantitative measure of health condition for the in-service bridge, can be successively updated with the accumulation of monitoring data. The proposed method is exemplified by using one-year strain monitoring data acquired from the instrumented Tsing Ma Suspension Bridge, in which the evolution of the estimated reliability index is obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111406
JournalEngineering Structures
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Bayesian mixture distribution model
  • Bridge
  • Conditional reliability index
  • Heterogeneous and multimodal data
  • Strain/stress distribution
  • Structural health monitoring (SHM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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