Revisiting multimode coupled bridge flutter: Some new insights

Xinzhong Chen, Ahsan Kareem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Better understanding of the bimodal coupled bridge flutter involving fundamental vertical bending and torsional modes offers valuable insight into multimode coupled flutter, which has primarily been the major concern in the design of long span bridges. This paper presents a new framework that provides closed-form expressions for estimating modal characteristics of bimodal coupled bridge systems and for estimating the onset of flutter. Though not intended as a replacement for complex eigenvalue analysis, it provides important physical insight into the role of self-excited forces in modifying bridge dynamics and the evolution of intermodal coupling with increasing wind velocity. The accuracy and effectiveness of this framework are demonstrated through flutter analysis of a cable-stayed bridge. Based on this analysis scheme, the role of bridge structural and aerodynamic characteristics on flutter, which helps to better tailor the structural systems and deck sections for superior flutter performance, is emphasized. Accordingly, guidance on the selection of critical structural modes and the role of different force components in multimode coupled flutter are delineated. The potential significance of the consideration of intermodal coupling in predicting torsional flutter is highlighted. Finally, clear insight concerning the role of drag force to bridge flutter is presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1115-1123
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Engineering Mechanics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Aerodynamics
  • Aeroelasticity
  • Bridges
  • Dynamics
  • Flutter
  • Winf loads


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