Dynamic testing and system identification of a multi-span highway bridge

C. S. Huang, Y. B. Yang, L. Y. Lu, C. H. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


A simple and effective procedure for conducting the free vibration test on highway bridges is presented. The impulsive force in each direction is generated by a loaded truck that either stops suddenly or falls down from a rigid block. The feasibility of the procedure is demonstrated in identification of the dynamic properties, i.e. the vibration frequencies, mode shapes, and damping ratios, of a three-span box-girder concrete bridge using the Ibrahim Time-Domain (ITD) technique. Up to 14 modes have been identified for the present case. For the purpose of verification, ambient vibration tests were also carried out, with the data processed by the random decrement (Randomdec) technique to yield the free vibration response, followed by the ITD technique. The dynamic properties identified from the two types of test correlate very well with each other, indicating the validity of each procedure described herein. Although many more modes can be identified from the free vibration test because of the higher quality of data produced, the easiness and general applicability of the ambient vibration test can still be appreciated. A comparison of the experimental results with those by the finite element method indicated a lesser degree of correlation, implying that the finite element model adopted in design requires further refinement, say, through a more realistic evaluation of the boundary conditions, geometric and material properties of the bridge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)857-878
Number of pages22
JournalEarthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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