Vibration Dynamics of an Inclined Cable Excited Near Its Second Natural Frequency

Vassil Tzanov, Bernd Krauskopf, Simon A Neild

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
424 Downloads (Pure)


Inclined cables are essential structural elements that are used most prominently in cable-stayed bridges. When the bridge deck oscillates due to an external force, such as passing traffic, cable vibrations can arise not only in the plane of excitation, but also in the perpendicular plane. This undesirable phenomenon can be modeled as an auto-parametric resonance between the in-plane and out-of-plane modes of vibration of the cable. In this paper, we consider a three-mode model, capturing the second in-plane, and first and second out-of-plane modes, and use it to study the response of an inclined cable that is vertically excited at its lower (deck) support at a frequency close to the second natural frequency of the cable. Averaging is applied to the model and then the solutions and bifurcations of the resulting averaged differential equations are investigated and mapped out with numerical continuation. In this way, we present a detailed bifurcation study of the different possible responses of the cable. We first consider the equilibria of the averaged model, of which there are four types that are distinguished by whether each of the two out-of-plane modes is present or not in the cable response. Each type of equilibrium is computed and represented as a surface over the plane of amplitude and frequency of the forcing. The stability of the equilibria changes and different surfaces meet along curves of bifurcations, which are continued directly. Overall, we present a comprehensive geometric picture of the two-parameter bifurcation diagram of the constant-amplitude coupled-mode response of the cable. We then focused on bifurcating periodic orbits, which correspond to cable dynamics with varying amplitudes of the participating second in-plane and second out-of-plane modes. The range of excitation amplitude and frequency is determined where such whirling cable motion can occur. Further bifurcations — period-doubling cascades and a Shilnikov homoclinic bifurcation — are found that lead to a chaotic cable response. Whirling and chaotic cable dynamics are confirmed by time-step simulations of the full three-mode model. The different cable responses are characterized, and can be distinguished clearly, by their motion at the quarter-span and by their frequency spectra.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1430024
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014


  • cable dynamics
  • parametric excitation
  • modal equations
  • bifurcation analysis
  • equilibrium surfaces
  • quasi-periodic and chaotic cable motion


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