Lead by their advisor, Antonio Nanni, professor and chair of the Department of Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering at UM, the students are installing a state of the art monitoring system with two types of gauges embedded in concrete and directly attached to the reinforcing GFRP and steel rebars in the bridge deck and superstructure. The Vibrating Wire Strain Gauges are designed to measure strains on the steel or GFRP internal reinforcement of certain concrete elements in the bridge. These gauges consist of a steel wire tensioned between two mounting blocks attached to stainless steel pads which are epoxy bonded to the rebars. The Concrete Embedment Strain Gauges are designed to measure strains directly by embedment in concrete using the vibrating principle with a steel wire compressed between two blocks.

University of Miami students

From left, graduate students Carlos Morales and Omid Gooranorimi securing instrumented GFRP rebars on the bridge deck.

The strains measured are caused by either tension or compression on the section of the element being monitored; therefore, by collecting the actual strains, the real stresses on that section of the structure can be easily identified.