Today, bridge structures are tested with unique constraints. Vehicle loads and extreme conditions give researchers a better understanding of the impact these structures can withstand. However, bridges are not being designed for both of these conditions at the same time.
Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno are using graphical system design to test bridge sections and the extreme conditions they may endure. To better understand the behavior of these immense structures during an earthquake and the combined load of a vehicle, researchers wanted to accurately test how the vehicles suspension system interacts with the movement of a bridge. They achieved this by building bridge sections and simulating earthquakes with large hydraulic shakers.
NI data acquisition hardware and the NI LabVIEW Real-Time Module helped the researchers easily program a system that could monitor critical components of their simulation such as strain, force and displacement. The ability to collect and process accurate data all with one platform made the test system a huge success. The entire system design gives researchers the capabilities to better understand the behaviors and movements of the structures we drive across every day.