Authors: Stiros, Stathis C. | Moschas, F. | Triantafyllidis, P.
GNSS technology (known especially for GPS satellites) for measurement of deflections has proved very efficient and useful in bridge structural monitoring, even for short stiff bridges, especially after the advent of 100 Hz GNSS sensors. Mode computation from dynamic deflections has been proposed as one of the applications of this technology. Apart from formal modal analyses with GNSS input, and from spectral analysis of controlled free attenuating oscillations, it has been argued that simple spectra of deflections can define more than one modal frequencies. To test this scenario, we analyzed 21 controlled excitation events from a certain bridge monitoring survey, focusing
…on lateral and vertical deflections, recorded both by GNSS and an accelerometer. These events contain a transient and a following oscillation, and they are preceded and followed by intervals of quiescence and ambient vibrations. Spectra for each event, for the lateral and the vertical axis of the bridge, and for and each instrument (GNSS, accelerometer) were computed, normalized to their maximum value, and printed one over the other, in order to produce a single composite spectrum for each of the four sets. In these four sets, there was also marked the true value of modal frequency, derived from free attenuating oscillations. It was found that for high SNR (signal-to-noise ratio) deflections, spectral peaks in both acceleration and displacement spectra differ by up to 0.3 Hz from the true value. For low SNR, defections spectra do not match the true frequency, but acceleration spectra provide a low-precision estimate of the true frequency. This is because various excitation effects (traffic, wind etc.) contribute with numerous peaks in a wide range of frequencies. Reliable estimates of modal frequencies can hence be derived from deflections spectra only if excitation frequencies (mostly traffic and wind) can be filtered along with most measurement noise, on the basis of additional data.
Keywords: Modal frequency, GNSS/GPS, accelerometer, bridge, dynamic displacement, excitation/attenuation, SNR, lateral/vertical deflection, spectral analysis, structural health monitoring
Citation: Bridge Structures,
vol. 17, no. 1-2, pp. 3-14, 2021
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