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Case Study

Artis REIT is an unincorporated closed-end real estate investment trust primarily focused on creating value for unitholders through the investment in and ownership of quality commercial properties in select markets. Artis REIT’s portfolio is comprised of industrial, retail, and office properties in Canada and the United States.

Project Details

Services
SoundPrint® Acoustic Monitoring – Parking Garages

Monitoring system commissioned in February 1994

System has been maintained and upgraded as needed, operating continuously since commissioning

Structure Type
Two-way unbonded post-tensioned concrete ground level slab above parking garage
Monitored Area
5,967 m2
Number of Zones
3
Number of Sensors
60

Project Highlights

System has performed in excess of 97% of efficiency over its lifespan

Detected and located 181 wire failures to date, of which 81 have been confirmed by physical inspections

Annual post-tensioning investigations planned according to monitoring results with as needed tendon replacements

Predictable wire failure rate on 8.1/year has allowed for accuracte forecasting of tendon replacements, averaging 6.6/year since 1999

Identified critical area to allow for focused remediation efforts

Challenge
Prior to the installation of the monitoring system, a single post-tensioning strand erupted from the slab surface. Investigations of the state of the ground level slab revealed significant waterproofing issues on the slab edges and water ingress into the tendons. Selective, invasive, inspections on strands throughout the structure were undertaken and resulted in 164 strands replaced from a total of 850. The status of the remaining tendons was uncertain, and a comprehensive monitoring solution was desired to identify areas of active corrosion.

Solution
In order to gain further insight into the deterioration rates of the structure, a SoundPrint monitoring system was installed in February 1994. The system was the first of its kind, and the monitoring experience gained was used to refine monitoring protocols and equipment. Improvements in the technology led to significant upgrades in 2001 and 2008, without any significant interruption to the data acquisition. Overall, the system has been in continuous operation in excess of 22 years and operated at over 97% efficiency through its life.

Results
Physical investigation of detected events have been regularly undertaken by qualified consulting engineers.  The process has resulted in the following:

  1. Wire events identified and located by Pure Technologies, and reported to client and consulting engineer.
  2. Consulting engineer schedules annual investigation of existing recesses and/or creates new recesses to check condition of the strands on which the wire events may have occurred.
  3. Based upon the condition of the strands inspection, the consultant recommends tendons for replacement.

Through these inspections, 81 wire failures have been confirmed by the finding of tension deficient cables in the reported areas. The monitoring results are displayed in the chart, which shows the linear nature of the post-tensioning deterioration in the three (3) ground level slabs. This consistent rate allows the client to accurately budget tendon replacements to maintain the structural integrity while minimalizing unexpected costs and interruptions to the garage operation.

SoundPrint®

Ensure the long-term integrity of bridges and structures with precise failure detection.

Structural Monitoring for Bridges & Structures

SoundPrint can detect and locate failures in high-strength steel wire, strand or cable through continuous, non-intrusive remote monitoring.

SoundPrint helps bridge or structure owners and engineers ensure the long-term integrity of materials like post-tensioned concrete building structures and pre-tensioned suspension and cable-stayed bridges. Because it continuously monitors for failure of tensioned steel elements, SoundPrint saves money on other bridge and structure inspection and NDE techniques.

Once SoundPrint has generated an understanding of the frequency and location of failures, other investigative techniques can be more cost-effectively applied to further evaluate the extent of deterioration.

How it works

SoundPrint Acoustic Monitoring system is installed on a Bridge or Structure.

Sensors measure the dynamic energy release when tensioned wires fail.

Onsite Data Acquisition Unit performs preliminary hardware filtering and real-time pre-processing rejecting superfluous acoustic event data.

Data from events that has passed preliminary filtering processes is transferred to our data-processing centre to be further examined.

Through a combination of applied proprietary software, and highly trained professional analysis, acoustic events are assigned a time, location, and specific classification.

If and when the event is classified as noteworthy, electronic alerts are sent, via email, to the client. The data is immediately accessible on the 3D GIS website, and reports can be custom generated.

Benefits

  • Saves money on bridge inspection
  • Complementary to other inspection techniques
  • Easily integrated into Bridge Management System
  • Access data from anywhere

Types of bridges

Suspension bridges
The main cables and suspender ropes of suspension bridges are often subject to aggressive environments where hidden corrosion of the wires leads to reduction in structural safety. SoundPrint provides complete, continuous surveillance of cable components on suspension bridges so that areas of active corrosion can be pinpointed.
Cable-stay bridges
The SoundPrint acoustic monitoring system provides a complete continuous remote health monitoring solution for stay-cables. Corrosion or fatigue-induced failures can be detected long before they compromise the integrity of the stay.
Post-tensioned bridges
Suspect grouting practices and poor detailing has led to concerns about the durability of post-tensioned bridges and their susceptibility to corrosion-induced tendon failure. SoundPrint has been used to provide assurance about the condition of post-tensioned bridges with sophisticated acquisition and event filtering capabilities that can reliably detect low energy wire breaks in fully-grouted tendons in noisy environments.

Featured Case Study

Fred Hartman Bridge

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)

Texas has more than 53,000 bridges, the largest bridge inventory in the United States. TxDot conducts routine inspections of most bridges every two years, ensuring all bridges open to vehicular traffic in Texas are safe and best in class.

Case Study

Texas has more than 53,000 bridges, the largest bridge inventory in the United States.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) conducts routine inspections of most bridges every two years, ensuring all bridges open to vehicular traffic in Texas are safe and best in class.

Project Details

Services
SoundPrint® Acoustic Monitoring
Monitoring system commissioned in 2002
Operated continuously since commissioning
Bridge Type
Fan arranged cable-stayed bridge
Monitored Length
2473 ft (754 m)
Number of Stays
192
Stay Type
Grouted 15mm x 7 wire strands in HDPE tubes

Project Highlights

System has performed in excess of 98% of efficiency over its life

SoundPrint identified individual wire events in stays ranging from 50 to 193 m in length

Allows TxDOT to establish remaining service life of 192 stays

Challenge

The Fred Hartman Bridge, located in Baytown Texas, opened to traffic in 1995 and is one of the largest cable-stayed bridges in the United States. ­

The cable-stayed bridge portion of the bridge is 2473 ft. (754 m) long, consisting of steel girders and transverse beams, and includes a 1250 ft. (381 m) main span. ­ The bridge consists of two 78 ft. (24 m) wide composite concrete decks suspended from diamond shaped concrete towers using a total of 192 stays. ­The stays are comprised of multiple 0.59 in (15 mm) seven-wire strands grouted inside HDPE tubes.

After the bridge completion, large-amplitude vibrations of the cables were observed. A vibration monitoring program confirmed that the stays are subject to wind/rain-induced vibrations, raising concerns about potential fatigue failure of the strands.

Solution

Following testing by the Ferguson Laboratory at the University of Texas, TxDOT installed a SoundPrint® Acoustic Monitoring System to monitor wire break activity within the stays. ­

The installation consisted of three specially-designed sensors on each stay (one on each anchor and one on the stay approximately 8 ft. (2.5 m) above the deck). ­ These sensors are suitable for cable-stayed bridges and are durable enough to withstand harsh marine environments. ­

The bridge is divided into 16 virtual monitoring zones with sensors from each zone connected to an active junction box using durable coaxial cable. ­ The active junction box outputs are connected to the SoundPrint® data acquisition and management system (“DAQ”) by means of multiple twisted-pair shielded cable. ­ The DAQ is located inside the North-East tower leg at deck level. Data is automatically transmitted from the DAQ through a local Internet connection to the Pure Technologies data processing center in Calgary, where the data is analyzed and classified.

On-demand reports are available to authorized individuals through a secure password-protected area of the SoundPrint® website. As the bridge is located in an area with frequent thunderstorms, the system has been upgraded with state-of-the-art lightning protection technology.

Results

TxDOT personnel have inspected some of the stays based on the reported wire events via anchorage investigations and stay force evaluations. To date, the inspections have not revealed significant changes in the measured stay forces due to the individual wire failures. ­ The rate of wire breaks has given TxDOT confidence in the operation of the stays, as well as the vibration damping system installed to reduce cable fatigue.

Case Study

Highways England (formerly the Highways Agency) is a government-owned company with the responsibility of managing the core road network in England. It operates information services, liaises with other government agencies and provides staff to deal with incidents on the roads it manages. The company managed The Mossband Viaduct, which carried traffic over a roadway and railway until its demolition in 2008.

Project Details

Services
SoundPrint® Acoustic Monitoring – Bridges

Monitoring system commissioned in 2001

Operated continuously until bridge demolition in 2008

Bridge Type
Post-tensioned concrete
Monitored Length
836 ft (255 m)
Number of Spans
8
Number of Sensors
210

Project Highlights

System has performed in excess of 99% of efficiency over its life

SoundPrint identified and located 6 specific wire break events

Structure life extended over 7 years via structural health monitoring

Client estimated economic benefits $30 to $40 million

Challenge

The viaduct was comprised of twin decks – one deck was constructed of concrete girders butted up against each other, with a top cantilevered slab, while the second deck was a voided box-girder. Half of the spans were post-tensioned cast in-situ concrete table spans and four were suspended spans supported by the table spans on half-joints.

Conventional visual investigations were performed in 1990, 1995, and 1999.

The first investigation discovered water ingress at all the deck joints and next to the drainage pipes. This was believed to have been occurring over many years. General corrosion of the surface reinforcement in these areas resulted in surface spalling.

The second inspection revealed the presence of several corroded and broken tendons in the in-situ table spans. The damaged tendons were located in the deck over the pier supports, where the cable profiles approached the top surface of the deck. A deck construction joint within a meter of the pier support provided a direct water path to the tendon ducts. The cable profiles descended from this location into the mid-span of the table span and to the half-joint anchorage area.

As is often the case with selective visual investigations, one location often showed severe corrosion while an adjacent location appeared undamaged. In this case, the third inspection showed that some of the longitudinal tendons had all the strands completely corroded whereas only two meters away, they appeared in good condition. Clearly, the tendons at the half-joint locations were at risk at all 14 locations, but the extent of deterioration at every location was unknown.

Solution

The Highways agency implemented a comprehensive bridge management plan starting in 1999 to assess the rate of deterioration of the post-tensioning, and if necessary, to intervene and strengthen the structure. ­The plan consisted of:

  • Monthly visual inspections of critical sections
  • Installation of vibrating wire stain gauges to monitor cracks on the sides of the sections and soffit of construction joints
  • Load testing to compare stain changes
  • Installation of a SoundPrint acoustic monitoring system to monitor the rate of deterioration of the post-tensioning system

In late 2000, 210 acoustic sensors were installed along the 836 foot (255 m) length of the viaduct in three rows to fully monitor all post-tensioning tendons. ­The sensors were multiplexed at local junction boxes to minimize cabling and data acquisition requirements. Data was acquired via a single acquisition unit calibrated to reject the majority of non-wire events, with events of interest transferred to servers in Calgary, AB for analysis.

Results

The wire break rate found was lower than expected. Six wire breaks were detected during the extended life of the structure, giving engineers/owners confidence that the bridge management program was effective. Further, strain readings during the AIL annual load tests showed that the structure was not experiencing severe changes in deflections, and that the serviceability requirements were being met. ­ The crack growth was also monitored, and thought to be consistent with the rate of deterioration observed with the acoustic system.

 

In this case, the acoustic monitoring system was used to extend the life of the structure by seven years and 10 months, until a new bridge could be built as part of the A74 Cumberland Gap. Approximately $1.4 million was spent on the two monitoring systems and the load tests over 8 years, including the system-related inspection and reporting functions by engineers.

 

Client estimated that the economic benefit in delaying the permanent bridge replacement and not fast tracking a temporary structure was between $30-$40 million dollars.

Case Study

The Maine Department of Transportation is the office of state government responsible for the regulation and maintenance of roads and other public infrastructure in the state of Maine. The department manages 2,919 bridges and spans in total, inspecting 2,414 in 2014.

Project Details

Services
SoundPrint® Acoustic Monitoring – Bridges

Monitoring system commissioned in 2003

Operated until bridge retired in 2006

Bridge Type
Suspension
Monitored Length
2040 ft (622 m)
Number of Main Cables
9.6 in (244mm) parallel strand cables
Number of Sensors
22

Project Highlights

Rapidly deployed monitoring system allowed resumption of two-way traffic

Identified & located 4 wire break events and 23 wire cut events

Confirmed effectiveness of cable strengthening measures

Estimated economic benefit in range of $25-36 million

Challenge

The Waldo Hancock Bridge, located in the state of Maine, was completed in 1931. Its deck carried one lane of traffic per direction, while two narrow reinforced concrete sidewalks were used for pedestrian traffic.

Partially due to the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS) stipulated by the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA), a number of inspections of the superstructure were carried out starting in the early 1990s. Portions of the main cables were unwrapped and inspected in 1992, 1998, and 2000. Due to signs of stage-3 corrosion during the 1998 small-scale investigation, the 2000 investigation was expanded to include more panel points on the North cable.
This investigation included four openings on the North cable, and one opening on the South cable. The safety factor had originally ranged from 3.0 to 3.2, based on no damage of the main cable. The wire breaks counts observed reduced the safety factor to just below 2.4 at two of the five locations investigated.

Since the cable condition was worse than anticipated, the bridge owner decided to implement a significant rehabilitation program to extend the life of the structure.

The major component was to replace the external main cable protection system. is replacement enabled an extensive visual inspection of the strands, with further wedging performed at select areas. During this exercise, it was discovered that the extent of the corrosion was beyond what the five panel inspection showed. At the worst location, 10 of the 37 strands were not carrying load, with one strand 100 percent corroded. is occurred on the South cable, where previously only one panel was inspected, reducing the calculated safety factor to 1.5 at the posted carrying limit of 12 tons.

Solution
This situation required emergency strengthening measures. First, a SoundPrint® acoustic monitoring system was installed on both main cables. To save installation time, a wireless system with 22 sensors was used. Load restrictions were placed on the bridge, and until the acoustic monitoring system was fully functional, the bridge was restricted to one-way traffi c for a short time. A total of eight supplementary strands were placed above each main cable, connected directly to each cable band with supplementary suspenders. The heavy concrete sidewalk was removed and replaced with a steel-wood combination.
Results

The acoustic monitoring system detected 4 wire breaks in the first 50 days of monitoring the cables (1 on the North cable, and 3 on the more damaged South cable). Once the supplementary cables were installed and the deck lightened, the wire breaks on the main cables stopped. To give all parties confidence, wires were periodically cut to demonstrate the effectiveness of acoustic monitoring system. Nine wires were cut and successfully recorded before the monitoring began, and a further 14 individual wires were cut and recorded over the following two years. In this case, the acoustic monitoring system was used to:

  • Provide utility during the critical period when strengthening measures were required
  • Extend the life of the bridge for an additional three years and four months, until a replacement bridge could be designed and built.

Approximately $1.1 million was spent monitoring the bridge using acoustics over this time period. Client estimated that the economic benefit of removing the load restrictions for heavy trucks, and not fast-tracking the new bridge was in the range of $25-$36 million.

It’s a major event when you’ve been asked to perform a first in terms of a pipeline inspection.

For starters, you must feel confident in the inspection technology you recommend. Second, you hope that all your planning for deployment and unexpected contingencies has been anticipated. And finally, with so many eyes focused on the outcome, you hope the first inspection of its kind goes off without a hitch.

That was the case in May 2017, when the Dutch utility Brabantse Delta retained Pure Technologies (Pure) to perform a SmartBall® inspection on a critical untreated wastewater pipeline near the city of Zevenbergen, located in the North Brabant province.

For Pure Technologies, this project marked the first SmartBall acoustic inspection of a rising [force] main in the Netherlands.

Brabantse Delta operates AWP-1, a pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipe (PCCP) pipeline that transfers industrial wastewater from the Moerdiijk pump station to the Hoven pump station. The 800mm (32-inch) pipeline traverses a lot of farmland near the city, which made accessing buried manholes somewhat of a challenge, as many of these were located on private land, making excavation difficult.

Gas pockets are of concern on wastewater lines

The pipeline has not experienced regular failures, but Brabantse Delta was looking for solutions to establish a baseline condition and manage the risk of this critical asset. The primary purpose of the SmartBall inspection was to identify and locate leaks and pockets of trapped gas along the approximately 8.3 km (5.1 mile) pipeline.

We were pleased the overall execution and excited that the SmartBall tool was able to collect inspection data while the force main remained in operation.” Ing. R van Wanrooij, Adviser Civil Engineering, Brabantse Delta

Gas pockets are of significant concern in force mains, as concentrations of hydrogen sulfide gas within wastewater may be subsequently converted to sulfuric acid by bacteria in the slime layer on the pipe wall.  This may cause corrosion and eventual breakdown of the pipe’s exposed surface.

The SmartBall tool was chosen as an inspection platform for its sensitivity to small leaks and gas pockets and for its ability to inspect long distances in a single deployment. Minimal pipeline modifications are required for insertion and extraction.

SmartBall tool tracked at known points along the pipeline alignment

The free-swimming, acoustic-based SmartBall® tool is inserted into the pipeline flow, and after traversing the inspection length, the tool is captured and extracted at a point downstream.

During inspection, the SmartBall tool’s location is tracked at known points along the length of the pipeline to correlate the inspection data with specific locations. As the SmartBall tool approaches a leak, the acoustic signal will increase and crescendo at the point when the tool passes the leak.

Unlike traditional listening tools like correlators, which have limited success on large diameter pipes, the free-flowing SmartBall technology provides a high degree of accuracy, since as the ball rolls inside the pipe, it can inspect every inch of the main to detect leaks and gas pockets.

Prior to the execution of the project, Pure Technologies reviewed the site and all pipeline drawings. The only real inspection challenge was taking into account the limited number of SmartBall receiver tracking units, as some of the buried manholes were located on private farms.

Inspection results

The inspection went smoothly, and all data successfully collected. From insertion to extraction, the SmartBall inspection took under 5 hours, with no unexpected events thanks to cooperative planning and full support of the Brabantse Delta team.

Preliminary data indicated no leaks and zero (0) acoustic events associated with pockets of trapped gas. Entrained air was present throughout the pipeline, but no events of significance were detected. Entrained air is a migratory event, meaning its location is dynamic and changes over time with the operational flow. These events are expected to move throughout the pipeline, and locations are specific to the time of the inspection.

Overall, Brabantse Delta was pleased with the execution, and excited to know there was an inspection tool that gave them a better understanding on the overall condition of the AWP-1 pipeline. The project demonstrates how Brabantse Delta uses actionable data to effectively manage risk, while continuing to provide the community with a safe and reliable delivery of untreated wastewater.

September 19, 2011 Calgary, Alberta

Pure Technologies Ltd., (“Pure”) is pleased to announce the introduction of its next-generation SoundPrint® system for monitoring bridge cables and post-tensioning systems. The system, called SoundPrint Light, utilizes Pure’s patented acoustic fibre-optic monitoring technology for monitoring prestressed concrete pipelines, which was first introduced in 2005 and is now deployed in over 1,500 km of pipelines. The technology provides continuous dynamic integrity information to allow operators to manage these critical assets cost-effectively and proactively.

SoundPrint Light has several advantages over the first-generation piezoelectric-based SoundPrint system. As the optical fibre cable acts as both the sensor and the data transmission medium, the need for a separate wired or wireless communication system is eliminated. Furthermore, because it is an optical-based system, it is immune to electromagnetic interference. This reduces installation and maintenance costs and increases the sensitivity and reliability of the system.

SoundPrint Light will be offered in two configurations. For post-tensioned bridges, including box-girder structures, the fibre-optic cables will be attached with adhesive directly to the concrete surface along the length of the bridge in a pattern that provides full coverage for all tendons in the structure. Because the fibres are acoustically sensitive along their entire length, the distance from a wire break to the closest sensor will generally be less than it would be with a conventional piezoelectric sensor array, resulting in lower signal attenuation and increased system sensitivity. For suspension and cable-stayed bridges, the configuration will consist of a fibre-optic communication cable connecting discrete fibre-optic sensors mounted at cable bands or at the stay anchorages. It is also possible, for new bridges, to incorporate the continuous distributed sensor within the cable assemblies during construction.

Commenting on the development, Jack Elliott, Pure’s President, said:

“We are pleased to be able to announce this important new initiative in bridge monitoring technology. We are commercial originator of the concept of continuous acoustic monitoring of bridges. We installed our first SoundPrint bridge system on a highway viaduct in Huntingdon, UK, in 1997, where it is still operating, and we have been providing bridge owners with valuable information on the integrity of cables and tendons in post-tensioned, cable-stayed and suspension bridges around the world ever since. The introduction of SoundPrint Light is a natural outcome of our experience with fibre-optic monitoring of pipelines and of our extensive in-house research and development capabilities. This development takes the concept of continuous monitoring of bridges to the next level.”

For more information on Pure Technologies, please visit our website at www.puretechltd.com

For more information on this new technology and/or the Bridges & Structures Division, contact:

Logan Fesenmair
Business Manager, Bridges & Structures
Tel: +1-403-537-3355
Email: logan.fesenmair@puretechltd.com