The National Academies

Rail Safety IDEA Project 39 [Completed (IDEA)]

Non-contact Scour monitoring for Railroad Bridges

  Project Data
Funds: $50,000
Staff Responsibility: Velvet Fitzpatrick
Research Agency: Florida Atlantic University
Principal Investigator: Sudhagar Nagarajan
Effective Date: 12/19/2018
Completion Date: 10/20/2020
Fiscal Year: 2018

Local scour poses potential damage to the bridge piers. Although researchers have developed instrumentation for scour detection around bridge piers, the current state-of-the-art practice relies upon visual inspection by divers. As a potential alternative to the traditional methods, this research explored the possibilities of using non-contact and remote sensing-based laser ranging technique for scour mapping and monitoring. This includes developing methodologies and mathematical models for georeferencing and refraction correction to use green laser system on a static or mobile platform like truck and UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) for the bridges over waterways.

The research developed methodologies to use green laser based ranging technique to map and monitor underwater scours. The laboratory experiments were designed based on the published literature to evaluate the feasibility of the methodology. The extracted 3D scour hole under varying turbidity conditions were compared with its original scour hole dimensions and the results are discussed. The developed methodology was further experimented in CSX owned and Florida Department of Transportation bridges to study the feasibility and the results are presented.  

The final report is available.

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