Modal Testing and Finite Element Calculations for Lightweight Aluminum Panels in Car Carriers
Journal article, 2006
Due to their characteristics and lower maintenance cost, lightweight aluminum structures have been widely used for manufacturing deck structures. When this type of structure is developed, the natural frequencies for the unloaded deck may increase, while the natural frequencies for loaded decks are most likely to decrease and new problems of vibration and damping may appear. In addition, it has already been shown by the authors that compared to the load effects of normal cargo, the dynamic structural behavior of a vehicle-loaded deck is different due to the participation of vehicle vibrations. The current paper presents a modal analysis by both testing and finite element (FE) calculation for a lightweight deck using aluminum panels. By comparing the results between the unloaded and car-loaded cases, it is shown how vehicle loading influences the dynamic structural behavior of the deck structures. The authors report that an aluminum panel mechanically connected to a steel frame may participate in some mode shapes of vibrations that significantly increase the corresponding damping ratio. The reasonably good agreement between modal testing results and FE calculations validates the finite element model, which may then be used for further dynamic analysis. The authors found that the spring-damping systems of car suspension and tires can interfere in the dynamic transmission of the vehicle mass into the deck structure. The study enables structural engineers interested in the design of car carriers to have a better understanding of how the vehicles parked on decks can influence the dynamic characteristics of the vehicle deck systems.