Scour Monitoring

Performance Data from Field-Deployed Prototype Scour Monitoring Systems

  • Alison Flatau (University of Maryland)
  • Steven R. Day (University of Maryland)
  • Suok Min Na (University of Maryland)
  • R. Andrew Swartz (Mich. Tech.)


This presentation presents ongoing work on the development of a capability for 24/7 monitoring and detection of bridge scour and lateral riverbed migration. The paper includes a review of the design considerations that went into deployment of the prototype systems, as well as an assessment of performance data obtain from full-scale installations of scour monitoring systems at two bridge sites in the state of Maryland. The scour sensing technology uses a combination of magnetic and magnetostrictive sensors attached to posts that are buried in the riverbed or river bank as appropriate. As scour develops and the soil begins to erode, the sensors are activated and able to detect water flow and automatically alert the bridge owner that remediation in needed. Practical considerations and challenges associated with transition for University lab prototypes to the full-scale field installation procedures will be discussed. We will also present data from the four sensor systems that we have installed to date. The full-scale installations include two sensor posts installed at the MD 450 bridge over Bacon Ridge Branch near Annapolis MD, which is a tidal bridge, and two sensor posts installed at MD 355 over Bennett Creek, where lateral riverbed migration is of concern.

How to Cite:

Flatau, A. & Day, S. R. & Na, S. M. & Swartz, R. A., (2014) “Performance Data from Field-Deployed Prototype Scour Monitoring Systems”, National Hydraulic Engineering Conference 2014 1(2014).

Rights: Copyright © 2014, Alison Flatau, Steven R. Day, Suok Min Na, and R. Andrew Swartz

Publisher Notes

  • Panel moderated by Laura Girard, FHWA.
  • About the Presenters: Dr. Flatau‘s teaching and research interests are in the areas of the dynamics of smart materials and structures, with emphasis on bio-inspired actuator and sensor technologies. Her research focuses on application of these materials and structures for noise, vibration and flow control in both aerospace and civil-infrastructure systems. Dr. Flatau was on the faculty at Iowa State University from 1990-2002 prior to joining the Univ. Maryland’s Aerospace Engineering Department. She served as Program Director for the Dynamical Systems Modeling, Sensing and Control Program at the National Science Foundation (1998-2002). Dr. Flatau is the recipient of several awards including the Clark School of Engineering’s 2009 Faculty Service award, the WIA Aerospace Engineering Educator of the Year (2010) and the SPIE Smart Structures and Materials Lifetime Achievement Award (2010) and the ASME Adaptive Structures Prize (2013). Dr. Flatau is a Fellow of the ASME, an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and a University of Maryland ADVANCE Professor (2011-2013). She has recently ventured into the domain of entrepreneurs to ensure transfer of technology from her lab to practice. She is a co-founder of Tauros Engineering LLC, a company is poised to become the first provider of a 24/7 bridge scour monitoring. Tauros already is partnering with the state of Maryland for deployment of prototype scour sensor systems. Throughout her career, she has been an active mentor and educator of Aerospace Engineering students, serving as AIAA student branch advisor for over twelve years and as Director of the UMD Aerospace Undergraduate Program for five years (2004-2009), prior to beginning her current appointment as Associate Dean of Research for the Clark School of Engineering.

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Published on
21 Aug 2014
Peer Reviewed