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Thorvaldur Kari Vilhjalmsson

Date and time: June 26th, 2023 at 10:30

Location: CEG-Lecture Hall D

Topic: A Methodology for Damage Detection Using Unsupervised Learning in the Field of Structural Health Monitoring: Based on Gaussian Mixture Modeling

Description: This thesis aims to investigate the feasibility of developing a successful unsupervised Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) methodology to detect damage in structures, specifically bridges. Detecting damage, especially in its earliest stages, is challenging, thus prompting the need for robust and effective methods. The success of such a methodology could lead to timely inspections and interventions, resulting in significant economic benefits and preventing further damage, including potential failure of the structure in use.

The approach involves a literature review to establish relevant background knowledge and useful concepts. From this, a methodology is developed utilizing unsupervised machine learning, specifically Gaussian Mixture Models (GMM), to identify abnormal behavior indicative of structural damage.

A Finite Element Method (FEM) model of a simple bridge is created and monitored over a three-year period, serving as a testing ground for the methodology and a primary source for data generation. Temperature data and its effects on the natural frequencies of the bridge model are used to establish a baseline for normal or healthy behavior. Synthetic damage, such as settlement and stiffness reduction, is then introduced to the model to create anomalies or abnormal behavior. The developed methodology is tested using three case studies, each with varying types of synthetic damage. By using both the healthy and unhealthy data generated from the model, the healthy behavior of the bridge is captured using GMM. The model then progressively incorporates unhealthy data into the proposed anomaly detection algorithm. The algorithm evaluates the likelihood of each incoming data point of belonging within the healthy distribution, resulting in data points being classified as either healthy or flagged as abnormal.

The case studies presented in this research underscore the efficacy of the proposed anomaly detection approach. In scenarios involving sudden or abrupt damage, the algorithm swiftly and accurately labels abnormal points. For gradual damage scenarios, such as settlement, the algorithm consistently identifies abnormal points, with the rate of abnormal point detection accelerating over time. This detection rate is contrasted with the rate of erroneous abnormal point labeling when processing an exclusively healthy data set through the anomaly detection algorithm. This comparison reveals a higher rate of abnormal point identification when actual damage is present, affirming the effectiveness of the unsupervised SHM methodology in pinpointing abnormal behavior within the modeled bridge structure.

Track: Structural Engineering