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Civil Engineering Applications

Back in the 1980's civil engineers were among the first to adapt Operational Modal Analysis (OMA) for testing of large structures. The size of the civil engineering structures and the fact that ambient excitation typically is uncontrollable pushed the development of OMA techniques heavily in this area.

Today OMA is a wide spread technology used in many engineering field but testing of civil engineering structures are still the most popular OMA application. Back in 1999, ARTeMIS software was originally developed as a spin-off of research made Aalborg University, Department of Civil Engineering, and even the ARTeMIS name refer to its civil engineering roots as it is the abbreviation of Ambient Response Testing and Modal Identification Software.

Below a list of typical civil engineering applications are presented.


Bridges have been in focus for decades due to the slender structure that makes them dynamical sensitive. The most famous example of a bridge disaster caused by dynamic effects is probably the Tacoma Narrows Bridge disaster. In case a bridge collapse it has enormous impacts both economically and for the society.

Large bridges are typically tested in the commissioning state for design verification and perhaps flutter analysis. A typical example is the ambient test of the Vasco da Gama Bridge in Portugal that is shown in the below picture.


The test of the Infante D. Henrique Bridge and the Guadiana Bridge are other examples from the Laboratory of Vibrations and Monitoring at University of Porto.

Smaller bridges like highway crossings have also been the subject for many years. Here the major concern typically is deterioration over time due to environmental effects. Combine this with the vast number of highway bridges typically present in a country is one of the reasons why this type of applications also attrack a lot of focus. Several research projects has concerned structural health monitoring of this type of structures. One of the recent projects are the IRIS project concerning the Austrian S101 highway bridge.

High Rise Buildings

High rise buildings are other types of dynamic sensitive structures, and specially in earthquake active regions, it is important to know the fundamental modes of these structures. Below a typical example is shown. This is the Heritage Court Tower located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

One of the challenges of analyzing building are the typical use of architectual symmetry. This courses closely spaced modes, i.e. modes have different mode shapes but natural frequencies of more or less same values. This is also the case in the above example, but by using the Stochastic Subspace Identification techniques of ARTeMIS Modal Pro it is possible to extract all the excited modes even in this case.




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