Indicial Aerodynamic Functions for Bridge Decks

by Robert H. Scanlan, (M.ASCE), Prof.; Dept. of Civ. and Geological Engrg., Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ,
Jean-Guy Béliveau, (A.M.ASCE), Res. Assoc.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg. and Engrg. Mech., Columbia Univ., New York, NY,
Kathleen S. Budlong, Grad. Student; Dept. of Civ. and Geological Engrg., Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ,

Serial Information: Journal of the Engineering Mechanics Division, 1974, Vol. 100, Issue 4, Pg. 657-672

Document Type: Journal Paper


With certain classical results for airfoils as a guide, lift and moment functions of the indicial type are derived for suspension bridge deck sections of either the open truss or streamlined variety. Bluff deck sections susceptible to coherent vortex shedding are not treated. The indicial functions are obtained analytically from the experimentally-derived linear-theory flutter derivatives of the bridge deck sections in question. The method used is nonlinear least squares, wherein a prescribed exponential form with unknown coefficients for the indicial function is determined by fitting transformed counterparts of it to the corresponding experimental flutter derivative curves. Several examples of indicial moment functions of bridge deck sections are presented. These offer rather conclusive proof that Wagner or thin airfoil theory alone is inadequate for application to bridge buffeting flutter and buffering analyses.

Subject Headings: Bridge decks | Aerodynamic flutter | Aerodynamics | Suspension bridges | Bridge tests | Aircraft wings | Least squares method | Movable bridges

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