A Test Method for Damage Diagnosis of Suspension Bridge Suspender Cables

Yonghui An, B. F. Spencer, Jinping Ou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Suspender cables are one of the most vulnerable components of a suspension bridge; therefore, development of effective methods for damage detection is imperative. Many previous damage detection methods require an accurate finite element model, which is often difficult to obtain. This article proposes a model-free test method for damage diagnosis of suspender cables that avoids this problem. The method includes two procedures: the mean normalized curvature difference procedure and the curvature difference probability procedure. Numerical results for single and multiple damage cases indicate that: (1) both procedures can be effective for damage diagnosis of suspender cables; (2) small damage can be more easily diagnosed in long suspender cables than short ones, for example, 5% stiffness reduction in long suspender cables can be diagnosed; and (3) noise is generally not a problem, because the signal-to-noise ratio can be improved by increasing the pulse excitation magnitude for a suspender cable. The proposed test method does not eliminate the need for manual inspection, but changes it from observation to a more quantified method. All of these points increase the potential of the proposed method for practical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)771-784
Number of pages14
JournalComputer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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