Fundamental mode shape estimation and element stiffness evaluation of girder bridges by using passing tractor-trailers

Yang Yang*, Huicheng Lu, Xiaokun Tan, Hwa Kian Chai, Ruiqiong Wang, Yao Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

A comprehensive indirect method is proposed in this study to estimate the dynamic characteristics of the fundamental mode and evaluate the element stiffness of a girder bridge using a passing tractor with two identical trailers. The novelty of this study is the use of the dynamic interaction between the two identical trailers and the bridge rather than that between the truck and the bridge. One of the advantages of this is that the dynamic characteristics of trailers are easier to model and analyse. Under the proposed method, the residual acceleration of the two trailers is first used to eliminate the adverse effects of road surface roughness. The fundamental natural frequency of the bridge is obtained from the Fourier transform of the resulting signal. Next, the component corresponding to this fundamental frequency was extracted using bandpass filtering. The corresponding damping ratio and mode shape can be reconstructed through a short-time Fourier transform (STFT) under the assumption that the fundamental mode shape amplitude peak is located at the midspan. Finally, the element stiffness of the bridge was evaluated using the reconstructed fundamental mode shape. In this study, the proposed method is investigated via numerical examples and performs well in different scenarios, for example, in the presence of high-level measurement noise and low-level road surface roughness. Furthermore, the method was validated through field testing on the Li-Zi-Wan bridge in Chongqing. The extracted fundamental mode shape agrees well with that obtained using the stochastic subspace identification (SSI) method. The evaluated element stiffness matches very well with both the original design and the static deflection test results.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108746
JournalMechanical Systems and Signal Processing
Early online date23 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Mode shape estimation
  • Vehicle-bridge interaction
  • Tractor-trailer
  • Element stiffness evaluation
  • Field testing


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