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Remote Sens. 2018, 10(3), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10030364

Vertical Deformation Monitoring of the Suspension Bridge Tower Using GNSS: A Case Study of the Forth Road Bridge in the UK

1
School of Geodesy and Geomatics, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China
2
Nottingham Geospatial Institute/Sino-UK Geospatial Engineering Centre, The University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2TU, UK
3
GNSS Research Center, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China
4
UbiPOS UK Ltd., Nottingham Geospatial Building, Nottingham NG7 2TU, UK
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 January 2018 / Revised: 18 February 2018 / Accepted: 21 February 2018 / Published: 26 February 2018
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Abstract

The vertical deformation monitoring of a suspension bridge tower is of paramount importance to maintain the operational safety since nearly all forces are eventually transferred as the vertical stress on the tower. This paper analyses the components affecting the vertical deformation and attempts to reveal its deformation mechanism. Firstly, we designed a strategy for high-precision GNSS data processing aiming at facilitating deformation extraction and analysis. Then, 33 months of vertical deformation time series of the southern tower of the Forth Road Bridge (FRB) in the UK were processed, and the accurate subsidence and the parameters of seasonal signals were estimated based on a classic function model that has been widely studied to analyse GNSS coordinate time series. We found that the subsidence rate is about 4.7 mm/year, with 0.1 mm uncertainty. Meanwhile, a 15-month meteorological dataset was utilised with a thermal expansion model (TEM) to explain the effects of seasonal signals on tower deformation. The amplitude of the annual signals correlated quite well that obtained by the TEM, with the consistency reaching 98.9%, demonstrating that the thermal effect contributes significantly to the annual signals. The amplitude of daily signals displays poor consistency with the ambient temperature data. However, the phase variation tendencies between the daily signals of the vertical deformation and the ambient temperature are highly consistent after February 2016. Finally, the potential contribution of the North Atlantic Drift (NAD) to the characteristics of annual and daily signals is discussed because of the special geographical location of the FRB. Meanwhile, this paper emphasizes the importance of collecting more detailed meteorological and other loading data for the investigation of the vertical deformation mechanism of the bridge towers over time with the support of GNSS. View Full-Text
Keywords: GNSS; structure health monitoring; suspension bridge tower; vertical deformation; mechanism explanation GNSS; structure health monitoring; suspension bridge tower; vertical deformation; mechanism explanation
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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. (CC BY 4.0).
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Chen, Q.; Jiang, W.; Meng, X.; Jiang, P.; Wang, K.; Xie, Y.; Ye, J. Vertical Deformation Monitoring of the Suspension Bridge Tower Using GNSS: A Case Study of the Forth Road Bridge in the UK. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 364.

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