GDG Use Dynamic Analysis to Locate Presence of Bridge Scour

Tuesday, 12th September 2017

Scour is a critical issue that can have devastating impacts on bridges, occasionally leading to complete collapse - Therefore accurate identification of scour development is essential for the safe management of bridge assets. This is a topic that the research team at GDG have been investigating for several years with a view to implementing efficient predictive monitoring regimes that not only identify the presence of scour but also measure the impact the scour is having on the structural performance.

Some of our scour research activities have recently culminated in a journal article written by GDG’s Dr Luke J Prendergast and Prof Kenneth Gavin recently published in the Journal of Civil Structural Health Monitoring on “Isolating the location of scour-induced stiffness loss in bridges using local modal behaviour”. GDG worked in collaboration with QUB and the Technical University of Delft to undertake a numerical study using a bespoke Vehicle-Bridge-Soil Dynamic Interaction model. This analysis examined how the first six vibration modes (Eigen frequencies) of a typical integral bridge were affected by scour at different locations. It was found that depending on the location of the scour hole, some modes were much more affected than others in terms of frequency changes. As a result, it is possible to detect the location of a scour hole using a relatively small number of sensors detecting vibrations induced in the structure due to a passing vehicle.

The work was undertaken as part of the Horizon 2020 project DESTination RAIL which is being led by the GDG Railway Design team. 

The paper is available Open Access at the following link:

or click here