Aeroelastic analysis of bridges: Effects of turbulence and aerodynamic nonlinearities

Xinzhong Chen, Ahsan Kareem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Current linear aeroelastic analysis approaches are not suited for capturing the emerging concerns in bridge aerodynamics introduced by aerodynamic nonlinearities and turbulence effects. These issues may become critical for bridges with increasing spans and/or with aerodynamic characteristics sensitive to the effective angle of incidence. This paper presents a nonlinear aerodynamic force model and associated time domain analysis framework for predicting the aeroelastic response of bridges under turbulent winds. The nonlinear force model separates the aerodynamic force into low- and high-frequency components according to the effective angle of incidence. The low-frequency force component is modeled utilizing quasi-steady theory. The high-frequency force component is based on the frequency dependent unsteady aerodynamic characteristics, which are similar to the traditional force model but vary in space and time following the low-frequency effective angle of incidence. The proposed framework provides an effective analysis tool to study the influence of structural and aerodynamic nonlinearities and turbulence on the bridge aeroelastic response. The effectiveness of this approach is demonstrated by utilizing an example of a long span suspension bridge with aerodynamic characteristics sensitive to the angle of incidence. The influence of mean wind angle of incidence on the aeroelastic modal properties and the associated aeroelastic response and the sensitivity of bridge response to nonlinear aerodynamics and low-frequency turbulence are examined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)885-895
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Engineering Mechanics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2003


  • Aerodynamics
  • Bridges
  • Buffeting
  • Flutter
  • Turbulence
  • Wind forces


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