Railway bridge damage detection based on extraction of instantaneous frequency by Wavelet Synchrosqueezed Transform

Neda Mostafa*, Dario Di Maio, Richard Loendersloot, Tiedo Tinga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


In bridge structural health monitoring, typically the dynamic response of the system is used to assess the health condition of the bridge. However, the dynamic interaction between a bridge and a passing vehicle imposes non-stationarity on the system response, whereby the bridge modal parameters become time-dependent and detecting damage, for example, based on the bridge modal parameters, becomes challenging. Dynamic vehicle-bridge interaction (VBI) responses have mainly been investigated for damage detection through identifying signal singularities and abrupt changes. The singularities are usually associated with high-frequency components (relative to the bridge natural frequencies), and it is demanding to isolate the damage-induced singularities from those caused by either an operational condition, i.e., track irregularities, or noise. Unlike the high-frequency range, the influence of damage on the resonance frequency of the coupled system has not been fully explored. The present study proposes the shape of the bridge instantaneous frequency as a damage sensitive feature in which the influence of the vehicle dynamics can be excluded. This study demonstrates the feasibility of a damage detection approach based on the bridge instantaneous frequency by applying Wavelet Synchrosqueezed Transform (WSST). In this approach the bridge instantaneous frequency variation induced by damage is distinguished from the bridge instantaneous frequency variation induced by the vehicle. Several damage scenarios that are implemented numerically are analyzed to verify the method’s performance. The results demonstrate that a high resolution instantaneous frequency extracted from the VBI dynamic response outperforms the resonance frequency in determining the local disruption, leading to detecting the damage. A Damage Index (DI) is also proposed as an attempt to quantify the damage severity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Number of pages27
JournalAdvances in Bridge Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


  • Damage detection
  • Bridge health monitoring
  • ime-frequency analysis
  • Non-stationary response
  • Instantaneous frequency
  • VBI acceleration response


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