Automated decentralized smart sensor network for modal analysis

S. H. Sim, B. F. Spencer, M. Zhang, H. Xie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Understanding the dynamic behavior of civil engineering structures is important to adequately resolve problems related to structural vibration. The dynamic properties of a structure are commonly obtained by conducting a modal survey that can be used for model updating, design verification, and improvement of serviceability. However, particularly for large-scale civil structures, modal surveys using traditional wired sensor systems can be quite challenging to carry out due to difficulties in cabling, high equipment cost, and long setup time. Smart sensor networks (SSN) offer a unique opportunity to overcome such difficulties. Recent advances in sensor technology have realized low-cost smart sensors with on-board computation and wireless communication capabilities, making deployment of a dense array of sensors on large civil structures both feasible and economical. However, as opposed to wired sensor networks in which centralized data acquisition and processing are a common practice, the SSN requires decentralized algorithms due to the limitation associated with wireless communication; to date such algorithms are limited. This paper proposes a new decentralized hierarchical approach for modal analysis that reliably determines the global modal properties and can be implemented on a network of smart sensors. The efficacy of the proposed approach is demonstrated through several numerical examples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2009
EditionPART 1
StatePublished - 2009
EventSensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2009 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 9 2009Mar 12 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
NumberPART 1
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherSensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2009
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Decentralized modal analysis
  • Smart sensor
  • Smart sensor network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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