Extending modal testing technology for model validation of engineering structures with sparse nonlinearities: A first case study

Arnaldo delli Carri*, B. Weekes, Dario Di Maio, D.J. Ewins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Modal testing is widely used today as a means of validating theoretical (Finite Element) models for the dynamic analysis of engineering structures, prior to these models being used for optimisation of product design. Current model validation methodology is confined to linear models and is primarily concerned with (i) correcting inaccurate model parameters and (ii) ensuring that sufficient elements are included for these cases, using measured data. Basic experience is that this works quite well, largely because the weaknesses in the models are relatively sparse and, as a result, are usually identifiable and correctable. The current state-of-the-art in linear model validation has contributed to an awareness that residual errors in FE models are increasingly the consequence of some unrepresented nonlinearity in the structure. In these cases, additional, higher order parameters are required to improve the model so that it can represent the nonlinear behaviour. This is opposed to the current practice of simply refining the mesh. Again, these nonlinear features are generally localised, and are often associated with joints. We seek to provide a procedure for extending existing modal testing to enable these nonlinear elements to be addressed using current nonlinear identification methods directed at detection, characterisation, location and then quantification – in order to enhance the elements in an FE model as necessary to describe nonlinear dynamic behaviour. Emphasis is placed on the outcome of these extended methods to relate specifically to the physical behaviour of the relevant components of the structure, rather than to the nonlinear response characteristics that are the result of their presence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-115
Number of pages19
JournalMechanical systems and signal processing
Issue numberPart B
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Modal testing
  • Model updating
  • Model upgrading
  • Model validation
  • Nonlinear structures


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