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Finite Element Model Updating of a Long-Span Suspension Bridge Using Measured Vibration Data

Calibration of finite element (FE) models of bridges using their field measured responses can be used as a powerful tool for their condition assessment and health monitoring. The field data, measured on the bridges, can be used to either update a baseline FE model of the bridge or to identify the structural changes from a baseline FE model. This paper presents a calibration procedure that updates the initially developed FE model of a long-span suspension bridge using measured vibration data. The 1.06 km long suspension bridge under investigation is located in Vallejo, CA. The bridge is instrumented using 27 wireless sensing nodes to measure its vibration response under ambient vibration. The dynamic characteristics of the bridge have been studied through the field measurements as well as a high-fidelity FE model of the bridge. The initially developed finite element model of the bridge is calibrated with the field measured response of the bridge so that the FE computed and field-measured modal characteristics of the bridge match each other closely. A multi-variable sensitivity-based objective function was used to minimize the difference between the FE computed and field-measured modal responses. The optimization problem was solved as an iterative procedure, and the values for the parameters associated with mass/stiffness/boundary conditions of the FE model were updated. The updated FE model of the bridge provides improved modal characteristics which closely match the experimentally measured modal responses of the bridge

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