The structural integrity of a project must be considered from conception through construction in order to prevent structural failures that can lead to damage, injuries and even death. From buildings and bridges, to tunnels and dams, testing must be performed to ensure the structure is practical to construct and able to stand up to safety.
Whether designing new structures or rehabilitating existing structures, data acquisition has become an essential tool that is relied upon to make important engineering decisions. Embedding sensors in the structure provides real-time monitoring of the changes endured before, during and after testing for environmental and operational concerns.
Non-destructive methods of testing are used to analyze the strength, quality and durability of materials. Load testing is a popular method used to verify that all component parts of a structure are fit for the job. While design calculations tell us how components should behave, load testing provides evidence on how the components will behave in everyday use.
There are three main types of load testing when considering the design of structures to ensure strength and safety throughout the expected life of the structure.
Static Load Testing is a designated constant load that is applied over an extended period of time. Load cases are tailored to simulate the weight of the structure and all of its permanent components. Static loads could determine the capacity of a foundation prior to construction.
Dynamic Load Testing consists of variable or moving loads for specified cycles, durations and conditions. The constant changes mimic building occupants or movable objects that would be expected to occur in normal operation.
Cyclical Load Testing involves constantly applying repeated or fluctuating loads to test the deterioration of materials to see if it leads to fatigue (corrosion in a localized area over time). Even repeated stresses well below the material’s strength can cause cracking and fracturing.
Load testing provides valuable information about the performance of structures new and old, but what is that information worth without the right recording devices? Data loggers are commonly used to monitor structural testing, giving the users a complete profile of how the structural components respond to the stress and strain.
MadgeTech data loggers are designed for use with strain gauges, load cells and pressure transducers for building, construction and maintenance applications. With a variety of options available, MadgeTech data loggers are built to accommodate the monitoring needs of the user. MadgeTech goes beyond to provide free, customizable software with endless data analysis and reporting tools!