Sensing dynamic displacements in masonry rail bridges using 2D digital image correlation

26 Jun 2018

Dynamic displacement measurements provide useful information for the assessment of masonry rail bridges, which constitute a significant part of the bridge stock in the UK and Europe. Commercial 2D Digital Image Correlation (DIC) techniques are well suited for this purpose. These systems provide precise non-contact displacement measurements simultaneously at many locations of the bridge with an easily configured camera setup. However, various sources of errors can affect the resolution, repeatability and accuracy of DIC field measurements. Typically, these errors are application specific and are not automatically corrected by commercial software. To address this limitation, this paper presents a survey of relevant DIC errors and discusses methods to minimise the influence of these errors during equipment setup and data processing. A case study application of DIC for multi-point displacement measurement of a masonry viaduct in Leeds is then described, where potential errors due to lighting changes, image texture and camera movements are minimised with an appropriate setup. Pixel-metric scaling errors are kept to a minimum with the use of a calibration method which utilises vanishing points in the image. However, comparisons of DIC relative displacement measurements to complementary strain measurements from the bridge demonstrate that other errors may have significant influence on the DIC measurement accuracy. Therefore the influence of measurement errors due to lens radial distortion and out of plane movements are quantified theoretically with pinhole camera and division distortion models. A method to correct for errors due to potential out of plane movements is then proposed.