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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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    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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