Perspectives on the structural health monitoring of bridges by synthetic aperture radar

Biondi, Filippo and Addabbo, Pia and Ullo, Silvia Liberata and Clemente, Carmine and Orlando, Danilo (2020) Perspectives on the structural health monitoring of bridges by synthetic aperture radar. Remote Sensing, 12 (23). 3852. ISSN 2072-4292 (

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Large infrastructures need continuous maintenance because of materials degradation due to atmospheric agents and their persistent use. This problem makes it imperative to carry out persistent monitoring of infrastructure health conditions in order to guarantee maximum safety at all times. The main issue of early warning infrastructure fault detection is that expensive in-situ distributed monitoring sensor networks have to be installed. On the contrary, the use of satellite data has made it possible to use immediate and low-cost techniques in recent years. In this regard, the potential of spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar for the monitoring of critical infrastructures is demonstrated in geographically extended areas, even in the presence of clouds, and in really tough weather. A complete procedure for damage early-warning detection is designed, by using micro-motion (m-m) estimation of critical sites, based on modal proprieties analysis. Particularly, m-m is processed to extract modal features such as natural frequencies and mode shapes generated by vibrations of large infrastructures. Several study cases are here considered and the “Morandi” Bridge (Polcevera Viaduct) in Genoa (Italy) is analyzed in depth highlighting abnormal vibration modes during the period before the bridge collapsed.