OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: Joseph N. Mait
  • Vol. 51, Iss. 5 — Feb. 10, 2012
  • pp: 547–557

Instrumentation design for bridge scour monitoring using fiber Bragg grating sensors

Wen Xiong, C. S. Cai, and Xuan Kong  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 51, Issue 5, pp. 547-557 (2012)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (1147 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



Scour is one of the main causes of bridge failures. In order to measure and monitor scour depth variations including deposition (refilling) process, three designs for a scour monitoring system using fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors are discussed in the present study. By a comparative study, one of them is recommended in the present study and its instrumentation manufacture process is also introduced in detail. Using this recommended design, the advantages of FBG sensors for monitoring, such as immunity from electromagnetic interference and multiplexing capability, can be fully utilized. Both scour depth variations and entire scour development process including deposition process can be correctly monitored in real-time by continuously identifying the locations of emerging FBG sensors from the riverbed. A reliable sensor protection measure is also designed for FBG sensors in harsh environments, especially in floods. Finally, a verification test using a flume is carried out in the laboratory and three experimental cases are conducted to demonstrate the capability of FBG sensors and applicability of the recommended scour monitoring system. It can be concluded that the recommended scour monitoring system using FBG sensors is capable of measuring the water level, (maximum) scour depth, entire process of scour development, and deposition height due to refilling process. The advantages over other conventional scour monitoring systems are clearly demonstrated.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(000.4930) General : Other topics of general interest
(060.2370) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber optics sensors

ToC Category:
Fiber Optic Sensors

Original Manuscript: July 28, 2011
Revised Manuscript: October 10, 2011
Manuscript Accepted: November 11, 2011
Published: February 3, 2012

Wen Xiong, C. S. Cai, and Xuan Kong, "Instrumentation design for bridge scour monitoring using fiber Bragg grating sensors," Appl. Opt. 51, 547-557 (2012)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. A. M. Shirhole and R. C. Holt, “Planning for a comprehensive bridge safety program,” Transportation Research Record No. 1290 (Transportation Research Board, 1991).
  2. J. Kattell and M. Eriksson, “Bridge scour evaluation: screening, analysis, and countermeasures,” Publ. Rep. No. 9877 (USDA Forest Service, 1998).
  3. P. F. Lagasse, E. V. Richardson, J. D. Schall, and G. R. Price, “Instrumentation for measuring scour at bridge piers and abutments,” National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report No. 396 (Transportation Research Board, 1997).
  4. G. W. Parker, L. Bratton, and D. S. Armstrong, “Stream stability and scour assessments at bridges in Massachusetts,” U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report No. 97-588(Massachusetts Highway Dept. Bridge Section, 1997), p. 53.
  5. C. H. Dowding and C. E. Pierce, “Use of time domain reflectometer to detect bridge scour and monitor pier movement,” in Proceedings of Symposium and Workshop on Time Domain Reflectometry in Environmental, Infrastructure, and Mining Application (1994), pp. 579–587.
  6. N. E. Yankielun and L. Zabilansky, “Laboratory investigation of time-domain reflectometry system for monitoring bridge scour,” J. Hydraulic Eng. 125, 1279–1284 (1999). [CrossRef]
  7. X. Yu and L. J. Zabilansky, “Time domain reflectometry for automatic bridge scour monitoring,” in Proceedings of Sessions of GeoShanghai (Geotechnical Special Publication(2006), pp. 149, 152–159.
  8. X. Yu and X. Yu, “Algorithm for time domain reflectometry bridge scour measurement system,” in Proceedings of 7th International Symposium on Field Measurements in Geomechanics (FMGM) (2007) .
  9. R. R. Mason and D. M. Shepard, “Field performance of an acoustic scour-depth monitoring system,” in Proceedings Fundamentals and Advancements in Hydraulic Measurements and Experimentation (ASCE, 1994), pp. 366–375.
  10. S. G. Millard, J. H. Bungey, C. Thomas, M. N. Soutsos, M. R. Shaw, and A. Patterson, “Assessing bridge pier scour by radar,” NDT & E Intl. 31 (4), 251–258 (1998). [CrossRef]
  11. K. J. Cuevas, M. V. Buchanan, and D. Moss, “Utilizing side scan sonar as an artificial reef management tool,” in OCEANS’02 MTS/IEEE (IEEE, 2002), Vol.  1, pp. 136–140.
  12. F. De Falco and R. Mele, “The monitoring of bridges for scour by sonar and sedimetrics,” NDT & E Intl. 35 (2), 117–123 (2002). [CrossRef]
  13. I. Park, J. Lee, and W. Cho, “Assessment of bridge scour and riverbed variation by a ground penetrating radar,” in Proceedings of 10th International Conference on Ground Penetrating Radar, GPR 2004 (2004), pp. 411–414.
  14. B. E. Hunt, “Scour monitoring programs for bridge health,” in Proceedings of 6th International Bridge Engineering Conference: Reliability, Security, and Sustainability in Bridge Engineering (Transportation Research Board, 2005), pp. 531–536.
  15. J.-Y. Lu, J.-H. Hong, C.-C. Su, C.-Y. Wang, and J.-S. Lai, “Field measurements and simulation of bridge scour depth variation during floods,” J. Hydraulic Eng. 134, 810–821 (2008). [CrossRef]
  16. S. Baglio, C. Faraci, E. Foti, and R. Musumeci, “Stereo vision for noninvasive dynamic measurements of the scour process around a circular cylinder in an oscillating flow,” in OCEANS 2000, MTS/IEEE Conference and Exhibition (IEEE, 2000), Vol. 2, pp. 987–992 .
  17. J. R. Casas, and P. J. S. Cruz, “Fiber optic sensors for bridge monitoring,” J. Bridge Eng. 8, 362–373 (2003). [CrossRef]
  18. L. Deng and C. S. Cai, “Applications of fiber optic sensors in civil engineering,” Struct. Eng. Mech. 25, 577–596 (2007).
  19. A. D. Kersey, M. A. Davis, and H. J. Patrick, “Fiber grating sensor,” J. Lightwave Technol. 15, 1442–1463 (1997). [CrossRef]
  20. M. G. Xu, L. Dong, L. Reekie, J. A. Tucknott, and J. L. Cruz, “Temperature-independent strain sensor using a chirped Bragg grating in a tapered optical fiber,” Electron. Lett. 31, 823–825 (1995). [CrossRef]
  21. R. L. Idriss, M. B. Kodindouma, A. D. Kersey, and M. A. Davis, “Multiplexed Bragg grating optical fiber sensors for damage evaluation in highway bridges,” Smart Mater. Struct. 7 (2), 209–216 (1998). [CrossRef]
  22. S. V. Miridonov, M. G. Shlyagin, and D. Tentori-Santa-Cruz, “Digital demodulation of a twin-grating fiber optic sensor,” Proc. SPIE 3541, 33–40 (1999).
  23. R. C. Tennyson, T. Coroy, G. Duck, G. Manuelpillai, P. Mulvihill, Cooper, J. F. David, P. W. E. Smith, A. A. Mufti, and S. J. Jalali, “Fiber optic sensors in civil engineering structures.” Can. J. Civil Eng. 27, 880–889 (2000).
  24. Y. B. Lin, J. C. Chen, K. C. Chang, J. C. Chern, and J. S. Lai, “Real-time monitoring of local scour by using fiber Bragg grating sensors,” Smart Mater. Structures 14, 664–670 (2005). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited