Detection and localisation of structural deformations using terrestrial laser scanning and generalised procrustes analysis

Jaafar, Hasan Abdulhussein (2017) Detection and localisation of structural deformations using terrestrial laser scanning and generalised procrustes analysis. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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One of the most vital duties for engineers is to preserve life and nature by utilising safe designs that take into account environmental standards and monitoring the performance of structures against design criteria. Furthermore, monitoring can be used to determine any required maintenance of an important structure following a catastrophic event. Numerous different techniques and instruments can be employed for such a purpose with different requirements producing different results. For instance, some techniques need to embed sensors inside the building, such as Geotechnical Sensors. Others can offer high quality, but with a low point density and require fixed stations and targets, like Total Stations (TS). In such cases, the location of deformation tends to be known, such as in dams, bridges, and high-rise buildings. However, this is not always the case where it might be hard to expect deformation location as in the case of historic ruins where each part of the structure could be subject to deformation. The challenge in such case is to detect the deformation without any previous knowledge. Remote Sensing (RS) techniques, such as Digital Photogrammetry, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), and Terrestrial Laser Scanner (TLS) can be solutions for such an issue.

Interestingly, many researchers are focusing on using TLS for monitoring owing to the great spatial resolution system can offer. However, there are three challenges in using TLS in monitoring: the first one is a huge amount of data and the difficulty of handling it; the second one is the difficulty of comparing between two epochs because observations of TLS are not repeatable; and the third issue is the noise which is attached to the data. The first problem is solved by segmentation and point structure while the second and the third ones still need more investigation, although some interesting researches have been done in this area.

The aim of this research is to develop a new approach to detect and localise unpredictable deformation. It is based on TLS measurements and Generalised Procrustes Analysis (GPA) techniques to determine deformation vectors, while boxing structure and F-test are used to detect and localise deformation. In summary, after applying this approach, the whole concerned building is represented as parts, for each of which the displacement vector and the deformation probability are estimated. Ultimately, it is possible to monitor any part through different epochs. In addition, through this technique, it is possible to determine deformations - not just between two epochs, but for sequences of them. This can give more reliable results.

Four validation experiments have been conducted. The first test was designed to assess the performance of the developed software and to fix some variables. Therefore, it was based on simulated data with controlled white noise, distributed according to the normal distribution, and simulated deformations. The results of this test revealed the success of the proposed algorithm to detect and to localise deformations. In addition, it showed the success when no deformations exist. Furthermore, optimistically, it could observe deformations with magnitude less than the noise level; however, the probability was only 40%.

Correspondingly, real scan data with simulated deformations was used in the second test. The purpose of this test is to examine the performance of the proposed method in case of real errors budget. However, the short range of the test (about 10m), a featureless scanned area (wall only), and scanning from one position for all epochs (no need for registration) can reduce errors to a minimum. Results of this test showed the success of the proposed method to detect and localise deformations. Potentially, it can give indications for areas with deformations less than the noise level. Furthermore, results of the proposed method can be considered better than that of CloudCompare software.

The third test was conducted to examine the performance of the proposed technique regarding different materials and textures. For this purpose, the Nottingham Geospatial Building (NGB) was selected with more extensive ranges (between 20-25 m). Similar to the second test, all measurements were taken from the same scanner position. To some extent, the proposed technique succeeded to detect and to localise deformations. However, the researcher does not recommend it for monitoring modern and complicated buildings, instead it has been developed for monitoring historic ruins.

Finally, the proposed method was applied on the Bellmanpark Limekiln, Clitheroe, Lancashire monitoring project. This is a live project for Historic England and addresses a historic building that currently has some structural issues. The outcome of the proposed method revealed deformations in the faces South East (SE) and North East (NE). From examining these faces, three deformed areas were found: two in the face SE and one in the face NE, which might cause some cracks appeared in these faces. Alternatively, the CloudCompare software has been employed to detect deformation. Although results coincide with the proposed method for detected deformations, it cannot locate these deformations very well because it diffused over a wide area. In addition, it cannot determine actual directions of the deformations unlike the proposed method.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Meng, Xiaolin
Sowter, Andrew
Keywords: TLS, GPA, Terrestrial Laser Scanner, Structural Deformation, Monitoring, Heritage Monitoring, Historic Monitoring
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General) > TA 630 Structural engineering (General)
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering
Item ID: 39376
Depositing User: Jaafar, Hasan
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2017 04:40
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 21:33

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