Reliability pointers for modal parameter identification of grandstand terraces

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    The reinforced concrete terrace units were positioned and tested on a specially manufactured steel frame resting on the strong floor in the Civil Engineering laboratories at Coventry University. In parallel, a finite element model was developed and set to free vibration. Natural frequencies and mode shapes were recorded and compared with those obtained experimentally. As correlation was not deemed to be satisfactory, an updating process was initiated and a series of parameters, starting with the concrete material properties were revised to improve links with the experimental results. Boundary conditions built-in the code were not adequate to model the real behaviour of the structure. Best results were achieved when supports conditions were modelled with a stiffness matrix. Correlation between experimental and computer predicted results improved further with the introduction of more advanced modelling techniques and gradual lifting of the limitations of the model, hence assisting the validation process, while verification did not provide the expected degree of confidence. It was concluded that it is possible to extract the natural frequencies and mode shapes of a complex, non-symmetric structure accurately, by using relatively low-cost, basic modal testing equipment and the finite element method of analysis, hence avoiding the risk of not detecting any mode shapes. This can be more apparent in complex modes (e.g. coupled, flexural/torsional) as they depend greatly on the number, position, direction, type and quality of the transducers and data logging and processing equipment used. Emphasis is placed on the experience built up in interpreting modal analysis results in order to be used for similar future work.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)84-99
    JournalJournal of Civil Engineering Research
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • modal analysis
    • concrete
    • updating
    • correlation
    • natural frequencies
    • mode shapes

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