Investigation of mode identifiability of a cable-stayed bridge: Comparison from ambient vibration responses and from typhoon-induced dynamic responses

Yiqing Ni, Y. W. Wang, Y. X. Xia

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Modal identification of civil engineering structures based on ambient vibration measurement has been widely investigated in the past decades, and a variety of output-only operational modal identification methods have been proposed. However, vibration modes, even fundamental low-order modes, are not always identifiable for large-scale structures under ambient vibration excitation. The identifiability of vibration modes, deficiency in modal identification, and criteria to evaluate robustness of the identifiedmodes when applying output-only modal identification techniques to ambient vibration responses were scarcely studied. In this study, the mode identifiability of the cable-stayed Ting Kau Bridge using ambient vibration measurements and the influence of theexcitation intensity on the deficiency and robustness in modal identification are investigated with long-term monitoring data of acceleration responses acquired from the bridge under different excitation conditions. It is observed that a few low-order modes, including the second global mode, are not identifiable by common output-only modal identification algorithms under normal ambient excitations due to traffic and monsoon. The deficient modes can be activated and identified only when the excitation intensity attains a certain level (e.g., during strong typhoons). The reason why a few low-order modes fail to be reliably identified under weak ambient vibration excitations and the relation between the mode identifiability and the excitation intensity are addressed through comparing the frequency-domain responses under normal ambient vibration excitations and under typhoon excitations and analyzing the wind speeds corresponding to different response data samples used in modal identification. The threshold value of wind speed (generalized excitation intensity) that makes the deficient modes identifiable is determined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-468
Number of pages22
JournalSmart Structures and Systems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Ambient vibration response
  • Cable-stayed bridge
  • Excitation intensity
  • Mode identifiability
  • Operational modal identification
  • Typhoon-induced dynamic response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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