, Volume 48, Issue 5, pp 1031–1051 | Cite as

On damage detection by continuous dynamic monitoring in wind-excited suspension bridges



The paper discusses the application of dynamic methods for damage detection in the main cables of suspension bridges, using data continuously recorded under wind excitation through permanent monitoring systems and automated operational modal analysis.

A continuum model for predicting the vertical aeroelastic response of wind-excited damaged suspension bridges is formulated and presented at first. The model shows that, for a real sample bridge, typical variations of mean wind speed produce variations of natural frequencies, due to aeroelastic effects, that are more significant than those produced by a small damage. A possible solution to this issue, proposed in the paper, consists of removing the dependence on the excitation source by calculating frequency shifts considering frequencies, in reference and damaged states, associated to approximately the same mean wind speed. This task and the necessary estimation of frequency shifts through a statistical analysis of identified natural frequencies outline the need for a continuous dynamic monitoring.

The analytical model is finally employed for generating dynamic wind response data that are successively processed by means of an advanced automated modal identification tool. Although based on the simplifications inherently contained in the analytical model, the results show that frequency shifts caused by a relatively small damage can be accurately estimated from response data recorded under wind excitation with a reasonable number of data sets.


Suspension bridge Damage detection Continuous dynamic monitoring Automated modal identification Structural health monitoring 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of PerugiaPerugiaItaly

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