This project was aimed at developing a novel RFID Scour Detection System, the RSDS, for monitoring scour hole evolution autonomously, continuously, and remotely near bridge piers and abutments, thus providing repeatable and reliable 3D scour data for both clear-water and live-bed scour conditions. To improve the applicability of the RFID technology for measuring scour, an existing RFID system was enhanced in this 2-stage project. Stage 1 involved enhancement and testing of the main RSDS components (i.e. the transponder, reader, and software). Stage 2 involved verification of the RSDS through applications in the laboratory and the field. The following technology enhancements were made:
· Integrated circuits and inclinometers added to improve accuracy and detectability when buried.
· Added a wake-up function to provide anti-collision features.
· Developed triangulation functionality to identify the x, y and z coordinates.
· Used potting compound to prevent moisture build-up.
· Enable remote interaction with network capabilities.
The continuous, real-time measurements of the RSDS can capture the modification to bed shear stress as the scour hole evolves and the resultant effect on the growth rate and extent of the scour hole. This resulting formulation is a decay function, where the shear force applied by the flow decays as the scour hole develops. The RSDS automates scour data collection and transmission, eliminating the need for onsite surveys and ensuring personnel safety. It also improves manager insight and decision-making by facilitating a shift to condition-based management that offers a cost reduction through timely recognition.