Detection of onset of failure in prestressed strands by cluster analysis of acoustic emissions

  • Ercolino, Marianna (Department of Structures for Engineering and Architecture, University of Naples Federico II) ;
  • Farhidzadeh, Alireza (Mistras Group Inc.) ;
  • Salamone, Salvatore (Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas at Austin) ;
  • Magliulo, Gennaro (Department of Structures for Engineering and Architecture, University of Naples Federico II)
  • Received : 2014.11.26
  • Accepted : 2015.07.25
  • Published : 2015.12.25


Corrosion of prestressed concrete structures is one of the main challenges that engineers face today. In response to this national need, this paper presents the results of a long-term project that aims at developing a structural health monitoring (SHM) technology for the nondestructive evaluation of prestressed structures. In this paper, the use of permanently installed low profile piezoelectric transducers (PZT) is proposed in order to record the acoustic emissions (AE) along the length of the strand. The results of an accelerated corrosion test are presented and k-means clustering is applied via principal component analysis (PCA) of AE features to provide an accurate diagnosis of the strand health. The proposed approach shows good correlation between acoustic emissions features and strand failure. Moreover, a clustering technique for the identification of false alarms is proposed.


corrosion;acoustic emission;principal component analysis;k-means method


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