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Advances in Civil Engineering
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 316023, 9 pages
Research Article

Intelligent Wireless Sensors with Application to the Identification of Structural Modal Parameters and Steel Cable Forces: From the Lab to the Field

1Department of Civil Engineering, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian 361005, China
2School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA

Received 3 October 2009; Revised 1 February 2010; Accepted 6 May 2010

Academic Editor: Piervincenzo Rizzo

Copyright © 2010 Y. Lei et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Wireless sensing systems have been proposed for structural heath monitoring in recent years. While wireless sensors are cost-competitive compared to tethered monitoring systems, their significant merit also lies in their embedded computational capabilities. In this paper, performance of the two embedded engineering algorithms, namely the fast Fourier transform and peak-picking algorithm implemented in the wireless sensing nodes codeveloped at Stanford University and the University of Michigan is investigated through laboratory and field experimental studies. Furthermore, the wireless sensor network embedded with the engineering algorithms is adopted for the identification of structural modal parameters and forces in steel bridge cables. Identification results by the embedded algorithms in the intelligent wireless sensors are compared with those obtained by conventional offline analysis of the measured time-history data. Such a comparison serves to validate the effectiveness of the intelligent wireless sensor network. In addition, it is shown that self-interrogation of measurement data based upon the two embedded algorithms in wireless sensor nodes greatly reduces the amount of data to be transmitted by the wireless sensing network. Thus, the intelligent wireless sensors offer scalable network solutions that are power-efficient for the health monitoring of civil infrastructures.