A. Kita, N. Cavalagli, F. Ubertini
University of Perugia
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
Via G. Duranti 93, 06125 Perugia, Italy

Keywords: Structural Health Monitoring, Architectural heritage masonry structures, Dynamic monitoring,
Preventive conservation.

Abstract. The paper presents the ongoing research activities regarding the Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) of a monumental masonry palace being carried out by the authors in the framework of HERACLES European project. The case study building is the Consoli Palace in Gubbio, Italy, a very iconic and structurally audacious monumental palace built in the fourteenth (XIV) century.
Results of several diagnostic investigations are presented, including crack surveys and ambient vibration tests, as well as finite element modelling of the structure, model calibration and seismic response analysis. All these activities have guided the installation of a mixed static-dynamic SHM system, for damage detection and preventive conservation of the building. The system comprises both linear variable displacement transducers aimed at monitoring the opening and closing of major cracks existing in the upper portion of the structure and related to two possibly activating failure mechanisms, temperature sensors and high sensitivity accelerometers finalized at the continuous modal identification and modal tracking of the building for damage detection purposes through statistical process control tools. The paper will also present the results of the first months of monitoring, including, in particular, a preliminary assessment of environmental effects on modal properties of the structure and a few considerations on the removal of such environmental effects and on the feasibility of a damage detection approach based on novelty analysis. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is one of the very first applications of vibration-based SHM to an historic palace, whereby most of the documented applications of similar methods to the built heritage are focused on slender structures such as civic and bell-towers.