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Structural Monitoring and Maintenance
  Volume 2, Number 1, March 2015, pages 1-18

Modal parameters identification of heavy-haul railway RC bridges – experience acquired
Regina Sampaio and Tommy H.T. Chan

    Traditionally, it is not easy to carry out tests to identify modal parameters from existing railway bridges because of the testing conditions and complicated nature of civil structures. A six year (2007-2012) research program was conducted to monitor a group of 25 railway bridges. One of the tasks was to devise guidelines for identifying their modal parameters. This paper presents the experience acquired from such identification. The modal analysis of four representative bridges of this group is reported, which include B5, B15, B20 and B58A, crossing the Carajás railway in northern Brazil using three different excitations sources: drop weight, free vibration after train passage, and ambient conditions. To extract the dynamic parameters from the recorded data, Stochastic Subspace Identification and Frequency Domain Decomposition methods were used. Finite-element models were constructed to facilitate the dynamic measurements. The results show good agreement between the measured and computed natural frequencies and mode shapes. The findings provide some guidelines on methods of excitation, record length of time, methods of modal analysis including the use of projected channel and harmonic detection, helping researchers and maintenance teams obtain good dynamic characteristics from measurement data.
Key Words
    railway bridges; operational modal analysis; stochastic subspace identification; frequency domain decomposition
Regina Sampaio: Faculty of Civil Engineering, Federal University of Pará - UFPA, Belem 66075-110 Brazil
Tommy H.T. Chan: Faculty of Science and Engineering, Queensland University of Technology - QUT, Brisbane 4001, Australia

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