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Steel and Composite Structures
  Volume 7, Number 6, December 2007 , pages 487-502

Modal testing and finite element model calibration of an arch type steel footbridge
Alemdar Bayraktar, Ahmet Can Altunisk, Baris Sevim and Temel Turker

    In recent decades there has been a trend towards improved mechanical characteristics of materials used in footbridge construction. It has enabled engineers to design lighter, slender and more aesthetic structures. As a result of these construction trends, many footbridges have become more susceptible to vibrations when subjected to dynamic loads. In addition to this, some inherit modelling uncertainties related to a lack of information on the as-built structure, such as boundary conditions, material properties, and the effects of non-structural elements make difficult to evaluate modal properties of footbridges, analytically. For these purposes, modal testing of footbridges is used to rectify these problems after construction. This paper describes an arch type steel footbridge, its analytical modelling, modal testing and finite element model calibration. A modern steel footbridge which has arch type structural system and located on the Karadeniz coast road in Trabzon, Turkey is selected as an application. An analytical modal analysis is performed on the developed 3D finite element model of footbridge to provide the analytical frequencies and mode shapes. The field ambient vibration tests on the footbridge deck under natural excitation such as human walking and traffic loads are conducted. The output-only modal parameter identification is carried out by using the peak picking of the average normalized power spectral densities in the frequency domain and stochastic subspace identification in the time domain, and dynamic characteristics such as natural frequencies mode shapes and damping ratios are determined. The finite element model of footbridge is calibrated to minimize the differences between analytically and experimentally estimated modal properties by changing some uncertain modelling parameters such as material properties. At the end of the study, maximum differences in the natural frequencies are reduced from 22% to only %5 and good agreement is found between analytical and experimental dynamic characteristics such as natural frequencies, mode shapes by model calibration.
Key Words
    dynamic characteristics; finite element model calibration; footbridge; modal testing; peak picking; stochastic subspace identification.
Karadeniz Technical University, Department of Civil Enginecring, 61080, Trabzon, Turkey

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