Modal testing for model validation of structures with discrete nonlinearities

D. J. Ewins, B. Weekes, A. Delli Carri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Model validation using data from modal tests is now widely practiced in many industries for advanced structural dynamic design analysis, especially where structural integrity is a primary requirement. These industries tend to demand highly efficient designs for their critical structures which, as a result, are increasingly operating in regimes where traditional linearity assumptions are no longer adequate. In particular, many modern structures are found to contain localized areas, often around joints or boundaries, where the actual mechanical behaviour is far from linear. Such structures need to have appropriate representation of these nonlinear features incorporated into the otherwise largely linear models that are used for design and operation. This paper proposes an approach to this task which is an extension of existing linear techniques, especially in the testing phase, involving only just as much nonlinear analysis as is necessary to construct a model which is good enough, or 'valid': i.e. capable of predicting the nonlinear response behaviour of the structure under all in-service operating and test conditions with a prescribed accuracy. A shortlist of methods described in the recent literature categorized using our framework is given, which identifies those areas in which further development is most urgently required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20140410
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2051
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Modal testing
  • Model updating
  • Model upgrading
  • Model validation
  • Nonlinear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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