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Mid-America Transportation Center

Infrastructure Inspection During and After Unexpected Events – Phase II


University of Iowa

Principal Investigator
Salam Rahmatalla
PI Contact Information
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided
USDOT: $80,612
UI Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering : $80,554
Total Project Cost
$ 161,166
Agency ID or Contract Number
Start Date
End Date
Brief Description of Research Project
During and after natural disasters, cities will experience chaos when emergency responders have difficulty localizing and quantifying the intensity of damage to civil infrastructures and estimating the loading capacity of bridges at a time when citizens’ safety and well-being are in danger. A physical model of a scaled highway bridge and a damage-detection methodology were developed in a previous work. The goal of this research is to develop a finite element (FE) computer model that represents the physical model of the bridge and that can be updated to model damage scenarios that may occur to bridges during natural disasters. The research for developing the FE model comprises the following steps. First, an FE model of a healthy, undamaged bridge that simulates the physical model of a bridge will be developed. The FE model will be tested and updated, to match the response of the physical model, using experimental data collected from experiments under seismic and wind-water-wave conditions. Artificial damage will be created at some locations on the bridge, including bridge supports. The FE model will be updated to simulate different types of damage. A final report will be written that concludes the work to be done. The long-term goal of this project is to integrate real-time damage-detection methodologies with computer FE modeling, data management, data visualization, and weather forecasting software to manage and determine the loading capacity and suitability of highway systems for the transportation of critical and hazardous materials during and after an extreme weather event.
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation
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Modal Orientation
  • Bridges
  • Natural Disasters
  • Safety and Human Performance
  • Systems