Mitigating Epistemic Uncertainty in Structural Identification: Case Study for a Long-Span Steel Arch Bridge

by Qin Pan, Civil Engineer; Bechtel Power Corporation, 5275 Westview Dr., Frederick, MD 21703., qpan1@bechtel.com,
Kirk Grimmelsman, Assistant Professor; Dept. of Civil Engineering, Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701.,
Franklin Moon, (corresponding author), Assistant Professor; Dept. of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Drexel Univ., Philadelphia, PA 19104,
Emin Aktan, John Roebling Professor and Director of the Drexel Intelligent Infrastructure Institute, Drexel Univ., Philadelphia, PA 19104.,


Serial Information: Issue 1, Pg. 1-13


Document Type: Journal Paper

Abstract: Characterization of constructed civil-engineering systems through structural identification (St-Id) has gained increasing attention in recent years due to its potential to enable more effective infrastructure asset management and performance-based engineering. Although there have been recent advances that mitigate the challenges posed by aleatory (random) uncertainty, there are many remaining challenges associated with epistemic (bias) uncertainty that often have a more critical impact on the reliability of St-Id (especially with applications to constructed systems). The objective of this paper is to illustrate various sources of epistemic uncertainty and describe mitigation approaches by detailing the St-Id of a long-span steel arch bridge. This application includes a priori modeling, ambient vibration monitoring, data processing, feature extraction, and finite-element (FE) model correlation. Following a description of the St-Id, the impact of various modeling uncertainties on the calibrated FE model is evaluated by comparing different identification scenarios. Finally, a simple and rational approach to truth testing the identified model is developed and employed to determine its admissibility.

Subject Headings: Arch bridges | Steel bridges | Uncertainty principles | Case studies | Finite element method | Span bridges | Steel structures | Structural steel | Data processing | Model tests | Bridge tests | Structural systems |

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