CEE's THMPER System Wins Pankow Award

A bridge structural assessment tool developed by a team led by Franklin Moon, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, has been selected by the American Society of Civil Engineers to receive the 2017 Charles Pankow Award for Innovation. The Targeted Hits for Modal Parameter Estimation and Rating (THMPER) system provides transportation agencies with a novel tool for estimating the safe load-carrying capacity of their bridge assets, which is more accurate and reliable than current practice, and more cost-effective than alternative approaches.

To accomplish this, the THMPER system uses a custom vehicle/trailer capable of rapidly performing modal impact testing and extracting global modal parameters (natural frequencies and mode shapes) that carry important information about how a bridge resists and distributes truck loads. Once the data is captured it can be used to validate and/or calibrate simulation models that are, in turn, used to develop reliable live load rating factors per applicable standards.

The collaborative effort that led to the development of this technology is the basis for its success, says Moon. "More than anything I think THMPER illustrates the unique ability of government-academe-industry partnerships to drive innovation from concept through implementation." 

In selecting Moon’s innovation, the Pankow selection committee noted the collaborative effort involved in its development. The technology was initially developed while Moon was an associate professor at Drexel University with a grant from the National Institute for Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Technology Innovation Program (TIP) and in collaboration with Pennoni Associates.

The award will be presenting at the Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) gala on March 16, 2017, in Arlington.