Dynamic and static structural displacement measurement using backscattering DC coupled radar

Shanyue Guan, Jennifer A. Rice, Changzhi Li, Yiran Li, Guochao Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Vibration-based monitoring is one approach used to perform structural condition assessment. By measuring structural response, such as displacement, dynamic characteristics of a structure may be estimated. Often, the primary dynamic responses in civil structures are below 5 Hz, making accurate low frequency measurement critical for successful dynamic characterization. In addition, static deflection measurements are useful for structural capacity and load rating assessments. This paper presents a DC coupled continuous wave radar to accurately detect both dynamic and static displacement. This low-cost radar sensor provides displacement measurements within a compact, wireless unit appropriate for a range of structural monitoring applications. The hardware components and operating mechanism of the radar are introduced and a series of laboratory experiments are presented to assess the performance characteristics of the radar. The laboratory and field experiments investigate the effect of factors such as target distance, motion amplitude, and motion frequency on the radar's measurement accuracy. The results demonstrate that the radar is capable of both static and dynamic displacement measurements with sub-millimeter accuracy, making it a promising technology for structural health monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-535
Number of pages15
JournalSmart Structures and Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2015


  • DC coupled radar
  • Dynamic displacement
  • Moving load test
  • Static deflection


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