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A numerical investigation into the aerodynamic characteristics and aeroelastic stability of a footbridge

Taylor, I.J. and Vezza, M. (2009) A numerical investigation into the aerodynamic characteristics and aeroelastic stability of a footbridge. Journal of Fluids and Structures, 25 (1). pp. 155-177. ISSN 0889-9746

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Abstract

The results of a numerical investigation into the aerodynamic characteristics and aeroelastic stability of a proposed footbridge across a highway in the north of England are presented. The longer than usual span, along with the unusual nature of the pedestrian barriers, indicated that the deck configuration was likely to be beyond the reliable limits of the British design code BD 49/01. The calculations were performed using the discrete vortex method, DIVEX, developed at the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde. DIVEX has been successfully validated on a wide range of problems, including the aeroelastic response of bridge deck sections. In particular, the investigation focussed on the effects of non-standard pedestrian barriers on the structural integrity of the bridge. The proposed deck configuration incorporated a barrier comprised of angled flat plates, and the bridge was found to be unstable at low wind speeds with the plates having a strong turning effect on the flow at the leading edge of the deck. These effects are highlighted in both a static and dynamic analysis of the bridge deck, along with modifications to the design that aim to improve the aeroelastic stability of the deck. Proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) was also used to investigate the unsteady pressure field on the upper surface of the static bridge deck. The results of the flutter investigation and the POD analysis highlight the strong influence of the pedestrian barriers on the overall aerodynamic characteristics and aeroelastic stability of the bridge.