Damage detection in cable structures using vibration characteristics

Wickramasinghe, Wasanthi R., Thambiratnam, David P., & Chan, Tommy H.T. (2014) Damage detection in cable structures using vibration characteristics. In Pathirana, K.P.P., Jayasinghe, T., Mendis, P., Ruwanpura, J., & Fernando, S. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Structural Engineering and Construction Management 2013, Kandy, Sri Lanka, pp. 32-39.


Cable structures find many applications such as in power transmission, in anchors and especially in bridges. They serve as major load bearing elements in suspension bridges, which are capable of spanning long distances. All bridges, including suspension bridges, are designed to have long service lives. However, during this long life, they become vulnerable to damage due to changes in loadings, deterioration with age and random action such as impacts. The main cables are more vulnerable to corrosion and fatigue, compared to the other bridge components, and consequently reduces the serviceability and ultimate capacity of the bridge. Detecting and locating such damage at the earliest stage is challenging in the current structural health monitoring (SHM) systems of long span suspension bridges. Damage or deterioration of a structure alters its stiffness, mass and damping properties which in turn modify its vibration characteristics. This phenomenon can therefore be used to detect damage in a structure. The modal flexibility, which depends on the vibration characteristics of a structure, has been identified as a successful damage indicator in beam and plate elements, trusses and simple structures in reinforced concrete and steel. Successful application of the modal flexibility phenomenon to detect and locate the damage in suspension bridge main cables has received limited attention in recent research work. This paper, therefore examines the potential of the modal flexibility based Damage Index (DI) for detecting and locating damage in the main cable of a suspension bridge under four different damage scenarios. Towards this end, a numerical model of a suspension bridge cable was developed to extract the modal parameters at both damaged and undamaged states. Damage scenarios considered in this study with varied location and severity were simulated by changing stiffness at particular locations of the cable model. Results confirm that the DI has the potential to successfully detect and locate damage in suspension bridge main cables. This simple method can therefore enable bridge engineers and managers to detect and locate damage in suspension bridges at an early stage, minimize expensive retrofitting and prevent bridge collapse.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

144 since deposited on 02 Feb 2014
21 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 66821
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Suspension bridges, Main cable, Damage detection, Structural health monitoring, Vibration characteristics, Modal flexibility
ISBN: 9789555891783
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > CIVIL ENGINEERING (090500)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > CIVIL ENGINEERING (090500) > Structural Engineering (090506)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Please consult the authors
Deposited On: 02 Feb 2014 23:30
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2014 07:33

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page