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The value of Instrumentation is that it detects potential problems before they are significant enough to cause catastrophic failure. The use of instrumentation is akin to an insurance policy that minimizes risk of structural failure while protecting against litigation.
Inclinometers are used to measure and monitor two dimensional lateral movement of earthworks or structures, landslides, embankment fills, and stability of excavations. Types of inclinometer systems include:
Automated In-Place Inclinometer (IPI)
Horizontal Inclinometer (can be used to measure settlement)
A piezometer, for geotechnical purposes, is a device used to measure the depth or elevation to groundwater. Piezometers can be installed and monitored in the following ways:
In the sand pack of a monitoring well
In the stand pipe of a monitoring well
Grouted in place
Vibration Monitoring comprises active live monitoring of construction site vibration. Base stations with solar panels can be utilized for continuous vibration monitoring. Remote battery powered vibration meters can last up to 2 months on a charge transmitting data every two hours.
Noise monitoring comprises active live monitoring of construction site noise levels. Base stations with solar panels can be utilized for continuous noise monitoring. Hand held noise monitors are also available.
An extensometer is a general term for an instrument that measures displacement and/or changes in length of a material. Extensometers can measure movement in the following materials:
Soil movement (e.g. Ground Settlement)
Cracks (e.g. walls, foundations, piles)
Tunnels (e.g. tunnel lining)
Tiltmeters are used to measure and monitor tilt of structures such as building walls, retaining walls, dams, bridge, and piers. Tyes of tiltmeters include:
Settlement Sensors are used to measure vertical displacement of a structural member of a building (ex. Wall, pile, column, etc.) or to measure surface or subsurface settlement in fills, surcharges, dams, embankments, etc. Type of settlement sensors include the following:
Single-point or multi-point liquid level settlement sensors (sensors attached to a building and measure vertical changes)
Settlement Plate (measures vertical changes in fills, surcharges dams, embankments, etc.)
A strain gauge is a sensor that measures slight changes in loading. For geotechnical purposes, a strain gauge can be mounted on a structural member like a steel strut, concrete column or pile, rebar, etc. The change in load or strain on that structural member is converted into units such as macrostrain, pounds per foot, kips, etc. Applications include monitoring loading on:
A load cell is a sensor that measures changes in compression or pressure. For geotechnical purposes load cells are generally mounted on a structural member like a tie back or installed in a concrete column or pile. Changes in compression or pressure on that structural member is converted into units such as pounds per foot, kips, etc. Applications include monitoring compression or pressure on:
Weir Gauges are water level monitoring systems set in a weir. A weir is a fixed barrier across a river or stream that forces water to flow over its top. The height of the water flow over the weir can be used to calculate flow. The purpose of the weir gauge is to precisely measure the level of water behind a weir to calculate the flow of water over the weir.