Acoustic Emission analysis of a comprehensive database of wire breaks in prestressed concrete girders

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Acoustic Emission (AE) analysis has been established as a valuable monitoring technique for detecting wire breaks, for example, in assessing the risk of Stress Corrosion Cracking (SCC) in older prestressed concrete bridges. A broad knowledge of the characteristics of the damage signal is crucial to reliable detection and subsequent classification. For this reason, extensive experiments were carried out on six prestressed concrete girders from three different bridges susceptible to SCC. Of these girders over 382 wire breaks were provoked under a variety of boundary conditions, and a database of 2700 signals was collected. Typical AE features were calculated from the signals and used for analysis. For classification purposes reference data from real traffic noise and rebound hammer impacts were added to the database. The distributions of wire break features were found to be generally similar for all girders. Further, the local bonding conditions between the wire and the grout at the break location showed to affect the signals respective energy, which was mainly released below 50 kHz. The best separation of damage and noise signals was found for amplitude, energy, and RMS. Statistical parameters were extracted for use in deriving valid thresholds for monitoring applications.


Original languageEnglish
Article number114846
Number of pages14
JournalEngineering structures
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022

External IDs

WOS 000874986900004
Mendeley 6b8571bf-d587-3cdb-940e-7af3fa5cb163
ORCID /0000-0001-8735-1345/work/142244604


ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Acoustic emissions, Bridge monitoring, Classification, Prestressed concrete, Source characterization, Stress corrosion cracking, Wire break detection

Library keywords