Dynamic properties of stay cables on the Penobscot Narrows bridge.
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Dynamic properties of stay cables on the Penobscot Narrows bridge.

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    • Abstract:
      Cable-stayed bridges have been recognized as the most efficient and cost effective structural form for medium to long

      span bridges over the past several decades. With their widespread use, cases of serviceability problems associated with

      large amplitude vibration of stay cables have been reported. Stay cables are laterally flexible structural members with

      very low inherent damping and thus are highly susceptible to environmental conditions such as wind and rain/wind


      Recognition of these problems led to the incorporation of different types of mitigation measures on many cable-stayed

      bridges around the world. These measures included surface modifications, cable crossties and external dampers.

      Modification of cable surfaces has been widely accepted as a means to mitigate rain/wind vibrations. Recent studies

      have firmly established the formation of a water rivulet along the upper side of the stay and its interaction with wind

      flow as the main cause of rain/wind vibrations. Appropriate modification of exterior cable surface effectively disrupts

      the formation of a water rivulet.

      The objective of this study was to supplement the existing knowledge base on some of the outstanding issues of stay

      cable vibrations and develop technical recommendations that may be incorporated into design guidelines. Specifically,

      this project focused on identification of in-situ cable dynamic properties and performance of external viscous dampers

      on the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. Forced vibration tests were conducted on the stay cables during the latter stages of

      construction, just prior to and following installation of viscous dampers. Cable properties, such as vibration frequencies

      and damping levels, were established and compared with design targets.

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