Structural health monitoring of railway transition zones using satellite radar data

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Abstract

Transition zones in railway tracks are locationswith considerable changes in the rail-supporting structure. Typically, they are located near engineering structures, such as bridges, culverts and tunnels. In such locations, severe differential settlements often occur due to the different material properties and structure behavior. Without timely maintenance, the differential settlement may lead to the damage of track components and loss of passenger’s comfort. To ensure the safety of railway operations and reduce the maintenance costs, it is necessary to consecutively monitor the structural health condition of the transition zones in an economical manner and detect the changes at an early stage. However, using the current in situ monitoring of transition zones is hard to achieve this goal, because most in situ techniques (e.g., track-measuring coaches) are labor-consuming and usually not frequently performed (approximately twice a year in the Netherlands). To tackle the limitations of the in situ techniques, a Satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) system is presented in this paper, which provides a potential solution for a consecutive structural health monitoring of transition zones with bi-/tri-weekly data update and mm-level precision. To demonstrate the feasibility of the InSAR system for monitoring transition zones, a transition zone is tested. The results show that the differential settlement in the transition zone and the settlement rate can be observed and detected by the InSAR measurements. Moreover, the InSAR results are cross-validated against measurements obtained using a measuring coach and a Digital Image Correlation (DIC) device. The results of the three measuring techniques show a good correlation, which proves the applicability of InSAR for the structural health monitoring of transition zones in railway track.

Original languageEnglish
Article number413
Number of pages16
JournalSensors
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

Keywords

  • Railway
  • Satellite InSAR
  • Settlement
  • Structural health inspection
  • Transition zones
  • OA-Fund TU Delft

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