Health Monitoring of Engineering Systems

Dr. Przemysław Kołakowski

Summary: The lecture gives a coverage of the major topics in the new, interdisciplinary field of Structural Health Monitoring (SHM), which has gained a lot of interest from the engineering community in recent years. The practical use of SHM solutions, linking research with industrial applications, has been the reason for fast development of this field. Two trends can be observed in the up-to-date SHM i.e. low- and high-frequency analysis, stemming from vibroacoustics and Non-Destructive Testing and Evaluation (NDT/E), respectively. The principal idea behind SHM is that a structure should be subject to permanent and automatic monitoring (performed not necessarily 24 hours a day, but in fairly frequent intervals). The main advantage of such monitoring is the ability to track changes in responses during the lifetime of the structure, raise alerts in case of significant deviations from standard behavior and estimate the usable lifetime until demolition.

The lecture has been divided into two parts. The first part starts with an overview of SHM. Then it takes up essential SHM topics like signal processing, system identification, experimental and operational modal analysis, low- and high-frequency methods of damage identification, overview of hardware for SHM measurements. The second part is focused on the Virtual Distortion Method (VDM), which has been developed in the Smart-Tech Centre, IPPT PAN, for 20 years. First, an introduction to the method will be presented. Applications of the VDM to SHM of various engineering systems, modeled by graphs, will be discussed. Skeletal structures, water distribution networks and electrical circuits will be considered in particular.


  1. Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) - an introduction
  2. Signal processing issues
  3. Experimental modal analysis (EMA) - frequency response functions (FRFs)
  4. System identification methods - low-frequency vibration-based SHM
  5. Operational (output-only) modal analysis (OMA)
  6. Elastic wave propagation - high-frequency SHM
  7. Hardware systems used in SHM
  8. Virtual Distortion Method (VDM) - structural statics
  9. VDM - computer exercise related to structural statics
  10. VDM - structural dynamics
  11. VDM - non-structural system applications
  12. VDM-based identification of stiffness degradation in structures
  13. VDM-based identification of delamination in structures
  14. VDM-based identification of defects in non-structural systems
The lectures are addressed to engineers, PhD students and post-docs interested in structural and system health monitoring.