Aerodynamic control of bridge cables through shape modification: A preliminary study

Kenneth Kleissl, Christos Georgakis

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper examines the viability of modifying bridge cable shape and surface for the purpose of controlling wind-induced vibrations. To this end, an extensive wind-tunnel test campaign was carried out on various cable shapes about the critical Reynolds number region. Cable shapes were chosen to passively modify the flow in a particular manner. Tested shapes included those which have some form of waviness, faceting and shrouding. Section models were tested using a static inclined rig, allowing them to be installed at yawed cable–wind angles for both smooth and turbulent flow conditions. The aerodynamic damping of the tested cylinders is evaluated by applying both 1- and 2-dof quasi-steady aerodynamic instability models. This allows for the prediction of regions of aerodynamic instability, as a function of flow angle and Reynolds number. Whilst the plain, wavy and faceted cylinders are predicted to suffer from either dry inclined galloping, ‘‘drag crisis’’ or Den Hartog galloping, the shrouded cylinder is found to be stable for all angles of attack, albeit with an increase in drag at typical design wind velocities. Finally, turbulent flow is found to introduce an increased amount of aerodynamic damping mainly by providing a more constant lift force over tested Reynolds numbers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Fluids and Structures
Pages (from-to)1006-1020
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Bridge cable vibration
  • Shape modification
  • Yawed flow
  • Passive aerodynamic damping
  • Aerodynamic stability


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