Vibration monitoring in civil engineering is a topic that covers a wide range of applications, including all the possible vibration sources that can affect a structure or a construction site. Its purpose is double: from one side it is important to assure that vibrations do not affect structures or people and on the other side it is important to obtain information on the structure dynamics and on the phenomena analyzed.
The typical instrumentation required is usually temporary and in compliance with regional or national standard directives.
The blasting monitoring is required in many applications related to explosions, like mining, excavations and demolition sites.
The vibration monitoring is usually needed close to blast, to assess the effects produced by the explosion. In case some structures are located in the blast impact zone, the vibration levels should be recorded also on them, in order to evaluate the potential damage, according to the national regulations.
Dams are one of the most critical structures because of the potential security threats related to a possible collapse. For this reason, many countries have decided to install permanent strong-motion equipment, particularly in active seismic zones.
Essential to the assessment of the seismic safety of existing dams is the accurate observation of the dynamic behaviour of the structure during an earthquake. The validity of the analytic models used in the prediction of the earthquake resistance of a dam must be checked and calibrated by inspecting the data recorded by a systematic and appropriate strong-motion instrumentation.
The vibration monitoring in buildings is very important in order to control the structure integrity, to increase the human safety and to evaluate the human disturbance. It is fundamental in case of new construction sites and in case of high seismic zones.
The vibration monitoring can give important information about risk assessment of a building, both in direct terms (acceleration/velocity) and indirect terms (frequency, post-processing analyses).
The technical evolution and the production growth of the most important energy plants during the last decades require always an increasing demand for safety systems, such as automatic monitoring and emergency stop in case of significant earthquakes. The more critical sites are Nuclear Power Plants (NPP), Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals and plants, Oil & Gas plants and refineries.
For this reason, seismic monitoring is fundamental in order to evaluate and guarantee the structural health of the site and consequently the safety of the people living in close proximity.
In general, vibration monitoring can be applied to a wide range of applications in the civil and geophysical field, not always related to requirements define by national standards.