Calibration of elasto-magnetic sensors on in-service cable-stayed bridges for stress monitoring

Carlo Cappello, Daniele Zonta, Hassan Ait Laasri, Branko Glisic, Ming Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The recent developments in measurement technology have led to the installation of efficient monitoring systems on many bridges and other structures all over the world. Nowadays, more and more structures have been built and instrumented with sensors. However, calibration and installation of sensors remain challenging tasks. In this paper, we use a case study, Adige Bridge, in order to present a low-cost method for the calibration and installation of elasto-magnetic sensors on cable-stayed bridges. Elasto-magnetic sensors enable monitoring of cable stress. The sensor installation took place two years after the bridge construction. The calibration was conducted in two phases: one in the laboratory and the other one on site. In the laboratory, a sensor was built around a segment of cable that was identical to those of the cable-stayed bridge. Then, the sample was subjected to a defined tension force. The sensor response was compared with the applied load. Experimental results showed that the relationship between load and magnetic permeability does not depend on the sensor fabrication process except for an offset. The determination of this offset required in situ calibration after installation. In order to perform the in situ calibration without removing the cables from the bridge, vibration tests were carried out for the estimation of the cables’ tensions. At the end of the paper, we show and discuss one year of data from the elasto-magnetic sensors. Calibration results demonstrate the simplicity of the installation of these sensors on existing bridges and new structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number466
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 5 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Instrumentation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Biochemistry


  • Cable-stayed bridge
  • Calibration
  • Elasto-magnetic sensors
  • Structural health monitoring
  • Vibration test


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