Structural Cyber-Physical Systems: A Confluence of Structural Health Monitoring and Control Technologies

Rosana E. Martínez-Castro, University of Connecticut - Storrs
Shinae Jang, University of Connecticut - Storrs

Document Type Article


Many bridges in the nation’s transportation infrastructure network have been found to be structurally deficient. In face of a natural or man-made disaster, this poses a serious threat to the execution of emergency respondent logistics, as the failure of such structures could disconnect communities from the necessary provisions and services that must remain accessible after a disaster. To predict such an eventuality, dependable information on structural status for decision-making can be obtained from structural health monitoring (SHM) systems. However, the avoidance of such a situation is preferred. Structural control systems offer an option to improve structural response during extreme loading events. To this date, some bridges have been instrumented with SHM and control systems that operate simultaneously, but independently without using the information that each provides to enhance operational efficiency in the other. If the information on structural status provided by an SHM system could be used to inform a control system, the likelihood of structural failure during a disaster could be significantly reduced. This paper reviews the necessary state-of-the-art technologies in SHM and control for the initial development of a structural cyber-physical system (SCPS). The limitations of these technologies and methods are also presented. This paper also introduces the concept of an SCPS, where monitoring data can be used as additional evaluation criteria for control strategies. Cyber-physical systems are highly complex systems with multiple sensing networks and computing systems that intercommunicate for intelligent controlling actions. Future research scopes and foreseeable challenges for the implementation of an SCPS are discussed.