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International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 914638, 14 pages
Research Article

Intelligent Monitoring of Multistory Buildings under Unknown Earthquake Excitation by a Wireless Sensor Network

1Department of Civil Engineering, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China
2State Key Laboratory for Disaster Reduction in Civil Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
3Department of Communication Engineering, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China

Received 7 July 2012; Revised 7 October 2012; Accepted 8 October 2012

Academic Editor: Ting-Hua YI

Copyright © 2012 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.


It is necessary to investigate techniques for monitoring structures under unknown earthquakes. For this purpose, an algorithm is proposed in this paper for the identification of structures and excitation of multi-story shear buildings with limited measurements of structural responses. The equation of motion of a multi-story shear building under ground motion is established in the absolute co-ordinate system, while the multi-story building is decomposed into substructures. A novel two-step Kalman estimator approach, which is not available in the previous literature, is proposed for the identification substructures and unknown ground motion with less computational effort. Then, for the purpose of intelligent structural monitoring, a new wireless sensor network is developed in this paper. The designed wireless sensor network has a two-level cluster-tree architecture. Hardware designs of the sensor unit and the cluster head are presented; especially the cluster head contains a low power digital signal processor with strong computing capacity. Thus, the wireless sensor network has the unique feature offers distributed computing at group level. Finally, the proposed algorithm is embedded into the wireless sensor network for intelligent structural monitoring and an experimental test shows the technique is effective for intelligent monitoring of multi-story buildings under unknown earthquakes.