Measurement of Pier Deformation Patterns by Ground-Based SAR Interferometry: Application to a Bollard Pull Trial

Giovanni Nico, Giuseppe Cifarelli, Gianluca Miccoli, Filippo Soccodato, Weike Feng, Motoyuki Sato, Salvatore Miliziano, Maurizio Marini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we describe a new methodology for the nondestructive measurement of absolute displacements of a pier during a bollard pull trial by ground-based synthetic aperture radar (GBSAR) interferometry. This technique measures displacement patterns with a submillimeter precision in any weather conditions, operating at a distance up to 4 km from the target area. Bollard pull trials are performed to study the deformation response of a pier when a static pull is applied by a tug to a bollard on the pier edge. The precise measurement of the pulling force and the corresponding displacement pattern of the pier around the bollard is a useful piece of information for the back-analysis studies during the assessment phases of recently built piers. An experiment is carried out to measure pier's displacements at 12 co-located corner reflectors (CRs) and surveying prisms, by SAR interferometry and topographic techniques during a bollard pull trial. The GBSAR results have been validated at the CR locations using the displacement measurements provided by topographic survey. The pulling force applied to the bollard is measured by a load cell specifically customized to precisely measure the pulling force during the trial. Results demonstrate that GBSAR systems can provide a useful tool for the assessment of harbor infrastructures, such as piers, measuring absolute displacements with near-real time capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8409936
Pages (from-to)822-829
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Oct


  • Bollard pull trial
  • SAR interferometry
  • ground-based synthetic aperture radar (GBSAR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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