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The aeroelastic stability of brige sections is of crucial importance. As the Tacoma Narrows bridge disaster demonstrated, aeroelastic phenomena can cause the total destruction of a bridge or viaduct. To date, the mechanisms responsible for aeroelastic instabilities are uncertain; for instance, there are several theories attempting to describe the Tacoma Narrows failure, based on galloping, vortex lock-in and pitch-plunge flutter.
The main objective of the research project is to test all three of these phenomena in the wind tunnel, using a model of a sample bridge section. Galloping has already been tested, the infrastructure necessary for the lock-in and flutter experiments is currently being developed.
A bridge section model in the ULg wind tunnel
A demonstration of pitch flutter oscillations
A demonstration of galloping oscillations in heave