Measurements of dynamic properties of a medium span suspension bridge by using the wavelet transforms

M. Meo, G. Zumpano, X. Meng, E. Cosser, G. Roberts, A. Dodson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this paper is to show the capabilities of the real-time kinematic (RTK) global positioning network system (GPS) to measure the low-frequency vibration of a medium span suspension bridge. In particular, this paper presents the results of studies conducted on the identification of modal parameters including natural frequencies, damping coefficients and mode shapes of a suspension bridge using ambient excitation loads. A real-time kinematic (RTK) global positioning system (GPS) was designed and installed on the Nottingham Wilford Bridge to provide long-term and real-time measurement of bridge deck movement. An approach to estimate modal parameters, from only output data in the time domain using the wavelet transform, is presented. Displacements responses of the bridge are used in the wavelet transform to identify its dynamic characteristics. The modal properties were extracted using a two-step methodology. In the first step, the random decrement method was used to transform random signals in free vibration responses. Secondly, a wavelets-based technique was used to extract natural frequencies and to determine the mode shapes of the structure. This method was compared with the well-established techniques eigensystem realisation algorithm showing a difference of 1% in the estimated first natural frequency.
The efficiency of RTK–GPS was demonstrated in the full-scale measurement. In particular, the results showed that the RTK–GPS data can be used for extracting modal properties from in-service-loads induced low-frequency vibration (o5 Hz) by processing the signal with the wavelets transform.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1112-1133
Number of pages22
JournalMechanical Systems and Signal Processing
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • wavelets
  • GPS
  • Vibration
  • Bridge


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