Model combinations for assessing the flutter stability of suspension bridges
Long-span cable supported bridges are prone to aerodynamic instabilities caused by wind and this phenomenon is usually a major design criterion. If the wind speed exceeds the critical flutter speed of the bridge, this constitutes an Ultimate Limit State. The prediction of the flutter boundary therefore requires accurate and robust models. This paper aims at studying various combinations of models to predict the flutter phenomenon. Since flutter is a coupling of aerodynamic forcing with a structural dynamics problem, different types and classes of models can be combined to study the interaction. Here, both numerical approaches and analytical models are utilised and coupled in different ways to assess the prediction quality of the hybrid model. Models for aerodynamic forces employed are the analytical Theodorsen expressions for the motion-enduced aerodynamic forces of a flat plate and Scanlan derivatives as a Meta model. Further, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations using the Vortex Particle Method (VPM) were used to cover numerical models. The structural representations were dimensionally reduced to two degree of freedom section models calibrated from global models as well as a fully three-dimensional Finite Element (FE) model. A two degree of freedom system was analysed analytically as well as numerically. Generally, all models were able to predict the flutter phenomenon and relatively close agreement was found for the particular bridge. In conclusion, the model choice for a given practical analysis scenario will be discussed in the context of the analysis findings.