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A categorical perspective towards aerodynamic models for aeroelastic analyses of bridge decks
(2019)

Reliable modelling in structural engineering is crucial for the serviceability and safety of structures. A huge variety of aerodynamic models for aeroelastic analyses of bridges poses natural questions on their complexity and thus, quality. Moreover, a direct comparison of aerodynamic models is typically either not possible or senseless, as the models can be based on very different physical assumptions. Therefore, to address the question of principal comparability and complexity of models, a more abstract approach, accounting for the effect of basic physical assumptions, is necessary.
This paper presents an application of a recently introduced category theory-based modelling approach to a diverse set of models from bridge aerodynamics. Initially, the categorical approach is extended to allow an adequate description of aerodynamic models. Complexity of the selected aerodynamic models is evaluated, based on which model comparability is established. Finally, the utility of the approach for model comparison and characterisation is demonstrated on an illustrative example from bridge aeroelasticity. The outcome of this study is intended to serve as an alternative framework for model comparison and impact future model assessment studies of mathematical models for engineering applications.

Long-span bridges are prone to wind-induced vibrations. Therefore, a reliable representation of the aerodynamic forces acting on a bridge deck is of a major significance for the design of such structures. This paper presents a systematic study of the two-dimensional (2D) fluid-structure interaction of a bridge deck under smooth and turbulent wind conditions. Aerodynamic forces are modeled by two approaches: a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model and six semi-analytical models. The vortex particle method is utilized for the CFD model and the free-stream turbulence is introduced by seeding vortex particles upstream of the deck with prescribed spectral characteristics. The employed semi-analytical models are based on the quasi-steady and linear unsteady assumptions and aerodynamic coefficients obtained from CFD analyses.
The underlying assumptions of the semi-analytical aerodynamic models are used to interpret the results of buffeting forces and aeroelastic response due to a free-stream turbulence in comparison with the CFD model. Extensive discussions are provided to analyze the effect of linear fluid memory and quasi-steady nonlinearity from a CFD perspective. The outcome of the analyses indicates that the fluid memory is a governing effect in the buffeting forces and aeroelastic response, while the effect of the nonlinearity is overestimated by the quasi-steady models. Finally, flutter analyses are performed and the obtained critical velocities are further compared with wind tunnel results, followed by a brief examination of the post-flutter behavior. The results of this study provide a deeper understanding of the extent of which the applied models are able to replicate the physical processes for fluid-structure interaction phenomena in bridge aerodynamics and aeroelasticity.

The accurate representation of aerodynamic forces is essential for a safe, yet reasonable design of long-span bridges subjected to wind effects. In this paper, a novel extension of the Pseudo-three-dimensional Vortex Particle Method (Pseudo-3D VPM) is presented for Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) buffeting analysis of line-like structures. This extension entails an introduction of free-stream turbulent fluctuations, based on the velocity-based turbulence generation. The aerodynamic response of a long-span bridge is obtained by subjecting the 3D dynamic representation of the structure to correlated free-stream turbulence in two-dimensional (2D) fluid planes, which are positioned along the bridge deck. The span-wise correlation of the free-stream turbulence between the 2D fluid planes is established based on Taylor's hypothesis of frozen turbulence. Moreover, the application of the laminar Pseudo-3D VPM is extended to a multimode flutter analysis. Finally, the structural response from the Pseudo-3D flutter and buffeting analyses is verified with the response, computed using the semi-analytical linear unsteady model in the time-domain. Meaningful merits of the turbulent Pseudo-3D VPM with respect to the linear unsteady model are the consideration of the 2D aerodynamic nonlinearity, nonlinear fluid memory, vortex shedding and local non-stationary turbulence effects in the aerodynamic forces. The good agreement of the responses for the two models in the 3D analyses demonstrates the applicability of the Pseudo-3D VPM for aeroelastic analyses of line-like structures under turbulent and laminar free-stream conditions.

Wind effects can be critical for the design of lifelines such as long-span bridges. The existence of a significant number of aerodynamic force models, used to assess the performance of bridges, poses an important question regarding their comparison and validation. This study utilizes a unified set of metrics for a quantitative comparison of time-histories in bridge aerodynamics with a host of characteristics. Accordingly, nine comparison metrics are included to quantify the discrepancies in local and global signal features such as phase, time-varying frequency and magnitude content, probability density, nonstationarity and nonlinearity. Among these, seven metrics available in the literature are introduced after recasting them for time-histories associated with bridge aerodynamics. Two additional metrics are established to overcome the shortcomings of the existing metrics. The performance of the comparison metrics is first assessed using generic signals with prescribed signal features. Subsequently, the metrics are applied to a practical example from bridge aerodynamics to quantify the discrepancies in the aerodynamic forces and response based on numerical and semi-analytical aerodynamic models. In this context, it is demonstrated how a discussion based on the set of comparison metrics presented here can aid a model evaluation by offering deeper insight. The outcome of the study is intended to provide a framework for quantitative comparison and validation of aerodynamic models based on the underlying physics of fluid-structure interaction. Immediate further applications are expected for the comparison of time-histories that are simulated by data-driven approaches.

The assessment of wind-induced vibrations is considered vital for the design of long-span bridges. The aim of this research is to develop a methodological framework for robust and efficient prediction strategies for complex aerodynamic phenomena using hybrid models that employ numerical analyses as well as meta-models. Here, an approach to predict motion-induced aerodynamic forces is developed using artificial neural network (ANN). The ANN is implemented in the classical formulation and trained with a comprehensive dataset which is obtained from computational fluid dynamics forced vibration simulations. The input to the ANN is the response time histories of a bridge section, whereas the output is the motion-induced forces. The developed ANN has been tested for training and test data of different cross section geometries which provide promising predictions. The prediction is also performed for an ambient response input with multiple frequencies. Moreover, the trained ANN for aerodynamic forcing is coupled with the structural model to perform fully-coupled fluid--structure interaction analysis to determine the aeroelastic instability limit. The sensitivity of the ANN parameters to the model prediction quality and the efficiency has also been highlighted. The proposed methodology has wide application in the analysis and design of long-span bridges.

Structural optimization has gained considerable attention in the design of structural engineering structures, especially in the preliminary phase.
This study introduces an unconventional approach for structural optimization by utilizing the Energy method with Integral Material Behavior (EIM), based on the Lagrange’s principle of minimum potential energy. An automated two-level optimization search process is proposed, which integrates the EIM, as an alternative method for nonlinear
structural analysis, and the bilevel optimization. The proposed procedure secures the equilibrium through minimizing the potential energy on one level, and on a higher level, a design objective function. For this, the most robust strategy of bilevel optimization, the nested method is used. The function of the potential energy is investigated along with its instabilities for physical nonlinear analysis through principle examples, by which the advantages and limitations using this method are reviewed. Furthermore, optimization algorithms are discussed.
A numerical fully functional code is developed for nonlinear cross section,
element and 2D frame analysis, utilizing different finite elements and is verified
against existing EIM programs. As a proof of concept, the method is applied on selected
examples using this code on cross section and element level. For the former one a
comparison is made with standard procedure, by employing the equilibrium equations
within the constrains. The validation of the element level was proven by a theoretical
solution of an arch bridge and finally, a truss bridge is optimized. Most of the
principle examples are chosen to be adequate for the everyday engineering practice, to
demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method.
This study implies that with further development, this method could become just as
competitive as the conventional structural optimization techniques using the Finite
Element Method.

With the advances of the computer technology, structural optimization has become a prominent field in structural engineering. In this study an unconventional approach of structural optimization is presented which utilize the Energy method with Integral Material behaviour (EIM), based on the Lagrange’s principle of minimum potential energy. The equilibrium condition with the EIM, as an alternative method for nonlinear analysis, is secured through minimization of the potential energy as an optimization problem. Imposing this problem as an additional constraint on a higher cost function of a structural property, a bilevel programming problem is formulated. The nested strategy of solution of the bilevel problem is used, treating the energy and the upper objective function as separate optimization problems. Utilizing the convexity of the potential energy, gradient based algorithms are employed for its minimization and the upper cost function is minimized using the gradient free algorithms, due to its unknown properties. Two practical examples are considered in order to prove the efficiency of the method. The first one presents a sizing problem of I steel section within encased composite cross section, utilizing the material nonlinearity. The second one is a discrete shape optimization of a steel truss bridge, which is compared to a previous study based on the Finite Element Method.

Synergistic Framework for Analysis and Model Assessment in Bridge Aerodynamics and Aeroelasticity
(2020)

Wind-induced vibrations often represent a major design criterion for long-span bridges. This work deals with the assessment and development of models for aerodynamic and aeroelastic analyses of long-span bridges.
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and semi-analytical aerodynamic models are employed to compute the bridge response due to both turbulent and laminar free-stream. For the assessment of these models, a comparative methodology is developed that consists of two steps, a qualitative and a quantitative one. The first, qualitative, step involves an extension
of an existing approach based on Category Theory and its application to the field of bridge aerodynamics. Initially, the approach is extended to consider model comparability and completeness. Then, the complexity of the CFD and twelve semi-analytical models are evaluated based on their mathematical constructions, yielding a diagrammatic representation of model quality.
In the second, quantitative, step of the comparative methodology, the discrepancy of a system response quantity for time-dependent aerodynamic models is quantified using comparison metrics for time-histories. Nine metrics are established on a uniform basis to quantify the discrepancies in local and global signal features that are of interest in bridge aerodynamics. These signal features involve quantities such as phase, time-varying frequency and magnitude content, probability density, non-stationarity, and nonlinearity.
The two-dimensional (2D) Vortex Particle Method is used for the discretization of the Navier-Stokes equations including a Pseudo-three dimensional (Pseudo-3D) extension within an existing CFD solver. The Pseudo-3D Vortex Method considers the 3D structural behavior for aeroelastic analyses by positioning 2D fluid strips along a line-like structure. A novel turbulent Pseudo-3D Vortex Method is developed by combining the laminar Pseudo-3D VPM and a previously developed 2D method for the generation of free-stream turbulence. Using analytical derivations, it is shown that the fluid velocity correlation is maintained between the CFD strips.
Furthermore, a new method is presented for the determination of the complex aerodynamic admittance under deterministic sinusoidal gusts using the Vortex Particle Method. The sinusoidal gusts are simulated by modeling the wakes of flapping airfoils in the CFD domain with inflow vortex particles. Positioning a section downstream yields sinusoidal forces that are used for determining all six components of the complex aerodynamic admittance. A closed-form analytical relation is derived, based on an existing analytical model. With this relation, the inflow particles’ strength can be related with the target gust amplitudes a priori.
The developed methodologies are combined in a synergistic framework, which is applied to both fundamental examples and practical case studies. Where possible, the results are verified and validated. The outcome of this work is intended to shed some light on the complex wind–bridge interaction and suggest appropriate modeling strategies for an enhanced design.