Date of Award

5-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Civil Engineering

Advisor

Atamturktur, Sez

Committee Member

Juang , Hsein

Committee Member

Ravichandran , Nadarajah

Abstract

In recent years, a significant amount of research has been directed towards the development of prognostic methodologies to forecast the future health state of an engineering system assisting condition based maintenance. These prognostic methods, having furthered the maintenance practices for mechanical systems, have yet to be applied to historic masonry structures, many of which stand in an aged and degraded state. Implementation of prognostic methodologies to historic masonry structures can advance the planning of successful conservation and restoration efforts, ultimately prolonging the life of these heritage structures. This thesis presents a review of prognostic concepts and techniques available in the literature as applied to various engineering disciplines, and evaluates the well-established prognostic techniques for their applicability to historic masonry structures. Challenges of adapting the existing prognostic techniques to historic masonry are discussed, and the future direction in research, development, and application of prognostic methods to masonry structures is highlighted.
One particular prognostic technique, known as support vector regression, has had successful applications due to its ability to compromise between fitting accuracy and generalizability (i.e. flatness) in the training of prediction models. Optimal tradeoff between these two aspects depends on the amount of extraneous noise in the measurements, which in civil engineering applications, is typically caused by loading conditions unaccounted for in the development of the prediction model. Such extraneous loading, often variable with time affects the optimal tradeoff. This thesis presents an approach for optimally weighing fitting accuracy and flatness of a support vector regression model in an iterative manner as new measurements become available. The proposed approach is demonstrated in prognostic evaluation of the structural condition of a historic masonry coastal fortification, Fort Sumter located in Charleston, SC. A finite element model is used to simulate responses of a casemate within the fort considering differential settlement of supports. Within the case study, the adaptive optimal weighting approach proved to have increased prediction accuracy over the non-weighted option.

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