Nonlinear fluid-structure interaction of bridge deck: CFD analysis and semi-analytical modeling

Christian Grinderslev, Mikkel Lubek, Zili Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Nonlinear behavior in fluid-structure interaction (FSI) of bridge decks becomes increasingly significant for modern bridges with increasing spans, larger flexibility and new aerodynamic deck configurations. Better understanding of the nonlinear aeroelasticity of bridge decks and further development of reduced-order nonlinear models for the aeroelastic forces become necessary. In this paper, the amplitude-dependent and neutral angle dependent nonlinearities of the motion-induced loads are further highlighted by series of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. An effort has been made to investigate a semi-analytical time-domain model of the nonlinear motion induced loads on the deck, which enables nonlinear time domain simulations of the aeroelastic responses of the bridge deck. First, the computational schemes used here are validated through theoretically well-known cases. Then, static aerodynamic coefficients of the Great Belt East Bridge (GBEB) cross section are evaluated at various angles of attack, leading to the so-called nonlinear backbone curves. Flutter derivatives of the bridge are identified by CFD simulations using forced harmonic motion of the cross-section with various frequencies. By varying the amplitude of the forced motion, it is observed that the identified flutter derivatives are amplitudedependent, especially for and parameters. Another nonlinear feature is observed from the change of hysteresis loop (between angle of attack and lift/moment) when the neutral angles of the cross-section are changed. Based on the CFD results, a semi-analytical timedomain model for describing the nonlinear motion-induced loads is proposed and calibrated. This model is based on accounting for the delay effect with respect to the nonlinear backbone curve and is established in the state-space form. Reasonable agreement between the results from the semi-analytical model and CFD demonstrates the potential application of the proposed model for nonlinear aeroelastic analysis of bridge decks.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWind & Structures
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)381-397
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Flutter derivatives
  • Nonlinear aeroelasticity
  • Nonlinear semi-analytical model


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