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.
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