Field tests and numerical analysis of the effects of scour on a full-scale soil-foundation-structural system

Tubaldi, Enrico and Antonopoulos, Christos and Mitoulis, Stergios Aristoteles and Argyroudis, Sotirios and Gara, Fabrizio and Ragni, Laura and Carbonari, Sandro and Dezi, Francesca and Vratsikidis, Athanasios and Pitilakis, Dimitris and Anastasiadis, Anastasios (2022) Field tests and numerical analysis of the effects of scour on a full-scale soil-foundation-structural system. Journal of Civil Structural Health Monitoring. ISSN 2190-5479 (

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Scour is the prevailing cause of bridge failure worldwide, leading not only to traffic disruption, but also to social and economic losses and even to casualties. Many vibration-based monitoring techniques have been proposed for identifying the scour location and extent, based on the evaluation of the changes of the bridge modal properties due to scour. This study describes the experimental and numerical research carried out to investigate the effects of scour on the dynamic properties of structures with shallow foundations. Although these are the most vulnerable ones, they have received less attention compared to structures founded on pile foundations. To fill some existing knowledge gaps, field experiments were carried out on EuroProteas, a structural prototype with shallow foundation that was subjected to increasing levels of scour. The changes of the dynamic properties of the system are evaluated by postprocessing the ambient vibration recordings and by developing various models of the soil–foundation–structural system with different descriptions of the soil–structure interaction problem. The study results shed light on the effects of scour on systems with shallow foundations and on the accuracy of alternative modelling approaches. They are presented here to inform the development and validation of vibration-based techniques and modelling strategies for bridge scour identification.