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Failures of cranes due to wind induced vibrations

C. Klinger

Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), Berlin, Germany
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Available online xxxx
Keywords:
Wind induced galloping vibrations
Onset wind speed
Undamped structural elements
Crane tension bars
Fatigue fracture
a b s t r a c t
Self-excited vibrations with large amplitudes in natural wind may occur at slender struc-
tural elements with low damping. Because of the different designs (e. g. using solid sections
today instead of cables for tension elements in the past) the susceptibility to wind induced
oscillations has increased. Those wind induced vibrations of proles with specic cross sec-
tion geometry which are motion induced and therefore self-exciting are called galloping
vibrations. Especially systems with elements that are highly tensile loaded and
undamped, like hangers of bridges or tension bars of cranes, are sensitive to wind induced
vibrations. Therefore more and more fatigue problems caused by galloping oscillations
have occurred in the 1990s. This paper describes exemplary the collapses of two modern
cranes of different design and manufacturers. During standstill periods, both cranes
suffered from wind induced vibrations of the tension bars, which bear up the counter-
weights. The failure analysis process to identify and explain the fatigue fractures as well
as the comparative experiments and simulation to verify that they were caused by wind
induced galloping-vibrations is described. It is shown, which parameters led to gallop-
ing-vibrations of the tension bars and how their onset wind speed and the amplitudes
can be estimated with more accuracy by a non-linear and non-stationary approach. Fur-
thermore it is shown that such dynamic stresses caused fatigue failure of the tension bars
for the counter weights and subsequently collapsing of the cranes.
For loss prevention knowledge and results gained by these investigations should be put
at disposal to engineers working on this eld of design. In the meantime, a contribution to
development of appropriate technical standards on structural steelwork was given by the
research works on galloping. Although new standards were introduced, which consider
wind induced vibrations, such failures still occur. (Reference to the paper Fatigue crack
in railway bridge hanger due to wind induced vibrations failure analysis, measures and
remaining service life estimation in this same Special Issue A tribute to A. Martens
2014).
2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Since the 1950s it is well known that several different wind excitation mechanisms may cause wind induced vibrations
and fatigue failures of metal structures like bridges, electrical overhead transmission lines, chimneys, light poles, and high-
way sign structures [16]. In the 1990s fatigue failures of steel structures due to galloping vibrations cumulated [1,712]. In
modern steel constructions sharp edged solid proles are used more and more. Due to the high tension forces in hangers and
tension bars, solid proles have a low damping characteristic compared to formerly used wire ropes made from steel.
1350-6307/$ - see front matter 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.engfailanal.2013.12.007

Tel.: +49 3081041533.


E-mail address: christian.klinger@bam.de
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Therefore and due to their shape, solid proles are sensitive to wind induced vibrations e.g. excited by galloping vibra-
tions. Such vibrations are recently observed at slender (slenderness ratio k = L/d 100) hangers of bridges and tension bars
of cranes and spreaders manufactured from solid proles.
In the following, two failure analyses on crane failures are described that were caused by galloping vibrations. Because
the investigation of the tower crane failure was more detailed, the explanations are based on that system. The failure of
the mobile crane is described briey with the aerodynamic root cause and the countermeasures. The two manufacturers
of the cranes supported the prompt information of experts by publication [12].
1.1. Case example tower crane
For the erection of the boilers and parts of the boiler houses of a new power plant in Germany, brand-new tower cranes
were used on the top of the boiler house Fig. 1.
After erecting the four corner columns of the boiler house, the top grid (weight ca. 1500 t, metric tons), and a tower crane
on top of it were mounted on ground level in between the corner columns. Using hydraulic strand jacks, the top grid with the
tower crane ready for operation were lifted in between the corner columns to their nal position at a height of 160 m, see
right boiler house in Fig. 1.
1.1.1. Structure of the tower crane
For this erection technique of the boiler house a special conguration of the tower crane with very little minimal outreach
is needed, compare right tower crane in Fig. 1, which was realized with following features, Fig. 2:
v Lufng main boom.
v Short counterweight jib with.
v Heavy counterweight and.
v Steep tension bars from counterweight to the top of the crane.
v Short and stiff tower.
The tower crane had a maximum outreach of 50 m with a load capacity of 20.5 t, maximum load capacity was 30 t.
1.1.2. Counterweight tension bars
The left and right counterweight tension bars are assembled from three tensions bars, connected by butt straps and bolts,
Fig. 2. Each tension bar is made from a tension member (square bar 60 mm 60 mm, steel S355) with butt straps welded on
one end. The shortest tension bar No. 3 has butt straps on both ends, Fig. 3. The longer ones No. 1 and No. 2 were manufac-
tured with a lug at the other end. According to the design, high loads act on the tension bars resulting in high tension stresses
of the tension members.
Fig. 1. New power plant site: erection of the boiler house with a tower crane on top (red arrow). (For interpretation of the references to color in this gure
legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)
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The tension bars were connected to the top of the tower and to the counterweight jib using bolts. High tension forces
introduced by the counterweights result in high friction at the bolts surfaces. Due to the friction, the pivots appear as rigid
restraint for the tension bars.
1.1.3. Failure description
End of March 1995, 100 days after assembly of the new crane, Fig. 2, both tension bars No. 3 broke, Fig. 4.
Hereupon the counterweights 6 steel slabs with a combined mass of 85 t crashed down from 170 m height through
the steel structure of the boiler house, Fig. 5, and through the ceiling of the coal bunker, Fig. 6, causing immense damage to
material, but fortunately not to people [7].
1.1.4. Hypothesis for the sequence of failure tower crane
Asked for any observations, eye witnesses reported horizontal bending vibrations of both counter weight tension bars
simultaneously but crosswise in the opposite direction when the crane was put out of operation due to high wind speeds.
Therefore it was assumed, that wind induced bending vibrations of the counterweight tension bars may have developed
Fig. 2. Tower crane with short counterweight jib with tension bars (1; 2; 3) to the top, location of fracture, hoist winch and hoist rope, heights over ground
level, MAN GHH Logistics, Heilbronn, Germany.
Fig. 3. Design drawing of shortest lower tension bar No. 3, MAN GHH Logistics, Heilbronn, Germany, and location of the crack.
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Fig. 4. Broken parts: right and left tension bar No. 3, broken tension members.
Fig. 5. Damage at the steel structure of the boiler house, counterweight stuck in transversal girder (green arrow); failed crane on top, identical crane left,
Gerling Consulting Group, Kln, Germany. (For interpretation of the references to color in this gure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this
article.)
Fig. 6. Damage at the concrete structure of the boilerhouse caused by crashing counter weights, Gerling Consulting Group, Kln, Germany.
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Fig. 7. The mobile pedestal crane (yellow crane right in this picture) at the erection site of a power plant, Mannesmann DEMAG, Zweibrcken, Germany.
(For interpretation of the references to color in this gure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)
Fig. 8. Sketch of the mobile pedestal crane and description of the main system-components; location of fracture, Mannesmann DEMAG, Zweibrcken,
Germany.
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during downtimes due to the exposed position in great height Fig. 2, on top of the boiler house, Figs. 1 and 5. The resulting
oscillating bending stresses combined with high mean stress could have initiated a fatigue crack in the right tension member
at the llet weld. After the nal fracture of the right tension bar, the counterweight jib tilted and immediately the left tension
bar broke starting at the llet welds by forced fracture.
1.2. Case example mobile crane
In 1992 a mobile crane with a lattice mast was used for assembly of heavy boiler parts on a power plant erection site in
England. At that time this crane was one of the world

s largest mobile cranes with a capacity of 1,000 t and a maximum load


moment of 25,000 mt (outreach in meter load in tonnes), Fig. 7.
1.2.1. Structure
The mobile pedestal crane consists of three structural components: chassis with pedestal outriggers, superstructure with
slew gear, drive and hoist gears, and the main boom with jib. The boom system is composed of the main boom, mast, lufng
y jib, stay bar, the super lift attachment with superlift counterweights, and bracing rod. The superlift-mast is braced to the
superstructure as well to the superlift counterweight, Fig. 8. The superlift counter weight is lifted with an extra bracing
winch synchronously with heavy loads.
The tension rods / bracings from the mast to the counterweight consist of at rectangle proles with width B = 250 mm
and thickness d = 30 mm; B/d = 8.3 (see sketch in Fig. 9). They are bolted together similar to the system described in Sec-
tion 1.1.1. The connections are designed by butt straps similar to those of the tower crane.
1.2.2. Hypothesis for the sequence of failure mobile crane
During some interruption of operation, the pedestal mobile crane was displayed close to the coast line fully rigged up
with elevated main boom on an exposed empty space for advertising. The Superlift

equipment, cp. Fig. 8, was not attached.


It was assumed that the rear bracings of the counterweights had developed wind induced torsional galloping vibrations
during a strong wind period with predominant wind direction.
After a relatively short period, one of the bracings broke due to fatigue. The other bracing could not carry the remaining
weight and broke by forced fracture. The crane collapsed with high material damage on the main boom system; fortunately
no personal damage occurred.
2. Investigations and results
2.1. Tasks and investigation procedures
According to an agreement of all 34 construction and insurance companies involved, the Federal Institute for Materials
research and Testing (BAM), Berlin, Germany, was authorised to investigate the failure of the tower crane.
Following A. Martens perception that technical failures are very often caused by accidental coincidence of effects that
separately are noncritical, an interdisciplinary approach was started right from the beginning.
v Survey and documentation.
v Fractography of fatigue and forced fractures.
v Chemical analysis of the materials.
v Metallography of tension member and lug.
v Mechanical testing.
v Inspection of condition of corrosion.
v Non-destructive testing for cracks.
Fig. 9. Aerodynamic Scruton number Sc
a,u
for a rectangular cross section B/d = 8.3 with a torsion amplitude u ~ 3 [9].
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v Evaluation of welds.
v Estimation of in service and special loads.
v Dimensioning according to the codes.
v Analysis of wind induced vibration.
v Analysis and identication of vibration characteristics of tension rods.
v Determination of dynamic cut loads and stresses in the tension member.
v Analysis of in service fatigue strength and damage accumulation.
v Root causes and sequence of failure.
RWTH Aachen, chair for steel construction, was assigned for the analysis of wind induced vibration using wind tunnel
testing.
2.2. Material analysis for the tower crane
2.2.1. Fractographic Investigation
The broken tension rods were inspected for corrosion damage possibly causal for the fractures. All corrosion features
found certainly arose after the fatigue fracture, Fig. 10.
Fig. 10. Fracture surface of the right tension bar short time after disaster, fatigue (above) and forced fracture (bottom).
Fig. 11. Fracture surface of the right tension bar, square prole 60 mm 60 mm, fatigue (above) and 23% forced fracture (bottom).
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Both tension members of the tension rods No. 3, Fig. 3, fractured directly at the llet welds, Fig. 4. The fracture mechanism
of the tension rod on the right side (in crane operators view) is fatigue fracture, Fig. 11. The fracture surface shows clearly
the macroscopic and microscopic features of fatigue fracture: beach marks, crack starts in several planes, crack propagation
in one plane vertical to the main nominal stresses, ssured forced fracture. After cleaning the fatigue fracture surface using
citric acid, the SEM investigation revealed fatigue striations at some small areas, Fig. 12.
The portion of forced fracture is about 23%, Fig. 11. Parts of the forced fracture area reveal cleavage fracture, Fig. 13, which
may be explained with low temperatures and fast fracture progression during nal fracture of the right tension rod.
Fig. 12. Fracture surface of the right tension bar after cleaning, magnication of upper part in rectangular in Fig. 11, fatigue crack propagation top down,
fatigue striations (middle of gure), transition to nal forced fracture (bottom).
Fig. 13. Fracture surface of the right tension bar after cleaning, magnication of bottom part in rectangular in Fig. 11, cleavage fracture.
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The fact that the tension bars were loaded with high tension forces resulting from the counterweights mass and the
existence of the fatigue fracture led to following hypotheses:
v Variable in service hook loads induced tension load changes in the tension bars that resulted in pulsating tension stresses.
v Vibrations of the machinery on the counterweight jib caused pulsating tension stresses.
v Bending vibrations of the tension bars superimposed cyclic stress amplitudes. From the location of the crack initiation at
the corner of the llet weld and the location of the forced fracture it was concluded if applicable that bending loading
must have been dominant in horizontal, transverse direction y (perpendicular to the plane of Fig. 2).
The fracture surface of the left tension rod reveals features typical for forced fracture, e.g. plastic deformations and shear
lips, Fig. 14. At the edges of the square prole small areas of fatigue fracture followed by dimples were identied in SEM. In
the center part of the left tension rod cleavage fracture dominates, similar to the right fracture surface shown in Fig. 13. This
brittle type of forced fracture is explained with the high tension forces, fast fracture progression and the low temperatures
during failure. The broken butt strap part of the tension rod (left in Fig. 14) could be retrieved shortly after the disaster, the
other fragment corroded for almost 3 weeks before salvage (right in Fig. 14).
2.2.2. Material properties
Chemical Analysis using sparc emission spectroscopy revealed a chemical composition typical for mild steel, Table 1.
According to DIN EN 10025 the results full the requirements for steel grade St 52-3 (material number 1.0570). The Al-con-
tent shows that the steel is fully killed, quality RR-St52-3.
Mechanical properties were evaluated by tensile testing of 4 specimens 10 mm 50 mm according to DIN EN 10002-1,
annex C and Charpy testing using 8 ISO-V-specimen according to DIN EN 10045-1. Both tension members met all require-
ments for this steel [8].
2.2.3. Metallography and evaluation of welding quality
Due to the location of both fractures adjacent to the cross welds, their geometry and microstructure were investigated in
more detail. Deviating from to the drawing, Fig. 15, both cross welds were manufactured as bead welds. The cross section
showed a convex multi run llet weld, Fig. 16. The hardness values are as expected, Fig. 17.
Welds often reduce fatigue strength of components signicantly because of the metallurgical and geometrical notch they
represent. This has to be considered in fatigue strength analysis for dimensioning, e.g. different notch cases are dened for
different weld types and weld geometries. Due to the geometric imperfections, the cross llet welds perpendicular to the
dominant stresses, marked with A in Fig. 15, were assigned to notch case K4 llet weld/standard quality according to
DIN 15018 [13].
The drawing specied a llet weld/special grade; weld transition free of notches machined if needed, which has high-
er fatigue strength and is therefore assigned to notch case K3 in DIN 15018 [13]. Undoubtedly this is an important deviation
Fig. 14. Fracture surface of the left tension bar, forced tension failure.
Table 1
Chemical composition of the broken tension members left . . ./03-A1 and right . . .04-A1, in % mass.
Stand./Specimen C Si Mn P S N Al Cr Mo Ni Cu
DIN EN 10025 60.22 60.55 61.60 60.04 60.04 60.009 P0.02
13/069/95/03-A1 0.185 0.485 1.408 0.021 0.009 0.0062 0.032 0.078 0.012 0.032 0.049
13/069/95/04-A1 0.186 0.485 1.406 0.021 0.009 0.0061 0.031 0.078 0.012 0.032 0.049
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from the design drawing and may be the root cause for fatigue fracture of the right tension rod; nevertheless, this has to be
proven by fatigue stress and strength analysis. As an intermediate materials investigation result it became obvious:
v A material defect was non-existent.
v All material properties fullled the material specications relevant for mild structural steel.
v Further cracks bigger than detection levels of magnetic particle testing and ultrasonic testing were not found.
2.3. Analysis of loads, stresses and design for tower crane service loading
For analyzing the dimensioning of the tension rods against static and dynamic loads from crane operation, the loads were
estimated, and the resulting stresses were calculated and compared to the allowed stresses.
The tension rods are loaded by the counterweight jib loaded with the counterweights weighting 85 t. Each tension rod is
loaded with a mean load F
z
:
F
z
= 560 kN
With the area of the tension rod A
Fig. 15. Cross llet weld of broken tensions rods, marked with A, drawing and details of cross weld geometry as designed and as built.
Fig. 16. Cross section of the weld, fracture edge, etched.
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A = 60 mm 60 mm= 3600 mm
2
The mean nominal tensile stress r
m
is
r
m
= F
z
=A = 156 N=mm
2
The lifting unit with the winch for the hoist rope is located on the counterweight jib, Fig. 2 (hoist rope is visible in Fig. 27).
Thus, a hook load and the resulting force in the hoist rope acts upwards (lifting) on the counterweight jib, which reduces the
tension forces in the tension bars. Highest tension forces in the tension bars occur when the hook is unloaded. Due to varying
forces in the hoist rope, the mean load in the tension rods F
z
is reduced cyclically. Further load changes from crane operation
are considered applying dynamic factors according to DIN 15018 [13] which was the relevant standard for cranes at the time
of manufacturing. This results in loads of
F
z;max
= 620 kN
and
F
z;min
= 448 kN
with stress ratio j
j = F
z;min
=F
z;max
= 0:72
Due to crane operation the maximum nominal stress r
max
may be calculated with:
r
max
= F
z;max
=A = 172 N=mm
2
(with j = 0:72)
A detailed discussion of the fatigue strength analysis according to [13] is beyond the scope of this article. Briey, service
loading fatigue analysis is simplied in DIN 15018 [13] by using nominal stresses, classication of notch cases for different
welds and load spectra B1. . .B6 with increasing load cycles numbers and increasing fullness in shape of the load spectra. For
the tower crane operation stress spectra B3 and a maximum nominal stress level r
max
is given. According to DIN 15018 [13]
the allowable maximum nominal stress for service loading fatigue allow r
o
is limited by of the allowable maximum nominal
stress of the general static stress analysis, load case HZ. In this case under consideration for load spectrum B3 and notch case
K4 [13]
allow r
o
= 270 N=mm
2
> r
max
= 172N=mm
2
For stress cycles during crane operation from r
o
to r
u
and back, the allowable lower stress value allow r
u
may be calcu-
lated using formulae given in [13].
B3=K3 : allow r
u
= 87 MPa
B3=K4 : allow r
u
= 66 MPa
Both allowable lower nominal stress values in the tension bars are well below lowest operation nominal stress of
124 MPa. This means that stress cycles of normal operation may not cause fatigue fracture of the tension bars. The stress
Fig. 17. Hardness HV5 measured on cross section shown in Fig. 16.
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analysis showed that the dimensioning of the tension rods against crane operational loads was sufcient according the stan-
dards valid at that time, even for the standard llet weld as built (notch case K4) deviating from the drawing (notch case K3),
Fig. 15.
Fatigue fracture of the tension rods due to nominal static and dynamic operational loading with hook loads as described
in [14] could be excluded in this case. The fact that the failure of the right tension rod was denitely fatigue fracture, Fig. 11,
was evidence that there have been additional dynamic loads, exceeding normal crane operation. From the orientation of
fatigue beach marks and reported eye witness it was concluded that probably vibrations of the tension rods in lateral direc-
tion occurred.
2.4. Vibration measurements and tower crane system identication
The authors of [8,15] executed extensive vibration measurements at the tension rods of the repaired, but structurally
unchanged crane on top of the boiler house with following aims:
v Acquisition of vibrations due to crane operation.
v System vibration response identication to nd specic vibration modes.
v Selection of vibration modes with very low damping that therefore may be excited by wind.
v Estimation of eigenfrequencies f
ei
and damping d of the tension rods as input for aerodynamic analysis.
2.4.1. Vibration measurements
For vibration response measurement multiple vibration acceleration and velocity sensors were xed in different positions
of the tension rod measuring in horizontal x and lateral y axes. The excitation of the tensions rods in lateral direction y,
Fig. 18, was done manually with periodic loads for f
e1
and und pulsed loads for f
e2
. Due to excitation in the antinodes of
the tension bars and their low damping, single frequency vibration response could be achieved. During the decay process
of tension rod vibrations the so called decay curves were recorded, Fig. 19. Additionally the tension rod vibrations of all
relevant operation modes were recorded [8].
2.4.2. System identication: Assessment of vibration characteristics, eigenfrequencies and damping
Normal operation with varying hook loads, slow or fast lifting or lowering did not excite signicant vibration of the
tension rods. Other machinery like slew gear or lufng main boom jack did not induce noticeable vibrations excluded for
Fig. 18. Tower crane on top of the boiler house, view from behind on the counterweight jib, crosswise vibrations of the tension bars in lateral direction y in
the 2nd eigenmode, exaggerated presentation.
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further investigations. Using fast Fourier transformation (FFT), the resonance frequencies of the rst four modes were calcu-
lated from the measured decay curves, Fig. 19, [8]. Because the damping is very low those resonance frequencies are almost
identical with the natural frequencies or eigenfrequencies of the undamped system. For simplication the resonance
frequencies measured and those calculated with numerical models, cp. Section 2.5, are called eigenfrequencies here. The
mean values for lateral vibrations of the tension rods, averaged from different measurements, are given in Table 2.
The logarithmic decrement of damping d was used as a value for the damping characteristics of the vibration response.
The values for log decrement d were calculated using the envelope of the decay curves for the rst and second eigenfrequen-
cy, Fig. 19:
d = 1=t f
ei
ln(y
0
=y(t))
y(t) is the amplitude following y
0
at the time t with like sign, compare Fig. 19.
The damping d of the second eigenfrequency f
e2
decreased with decreasing vibration amplitude down to d = 0,002, Table 2.
This showed that the structural damping of the counterweight tension rods is very small, similar to those measured at hang-
ers of bridges [1]. Due to its minimal damping and higher vibration speed at the same displacement amplitude, the second
eigenfrequency was in focus for further investigations.
The crane was in operation for about 100 days. Operation took place from Monday to Saturday between 7 am and 6 pm.
During 30% of the operating time the crane was in standstill due to attachment of loads, mounting parts of the boiler house
or high wind speed. The load carrying capacity of 30 t was used only in -3% of the lifting cycles.
Lateral vibrations of the tension rods due to crane operation could be neglected for the analysis of dynamic stresses of the
tension member.
Fig. 19. Decay-curve of the right tension bar; amplitudes y
i
at different times t
i
(diagram left), spectrum with the 2. eigenfrequency (right).
Table 2
Eigenfrequencies and damping of the counterweight jib tension rods of the tower crane, calculated from measured decay curves [8].
Mode Eigenfrequency Frequency Log. decrement d
Fundamental 1. Eigenfrequency f
e1
3.6 Hz ~0.008
1. Harmonic 2. Eigenfrequency f
e2
7.6 Hz ~0.002
2. Harmonic 3. Eigenfrequency f
e3
10.6 Hz Not assessed
3. Harmonic 4. Eigenfrequency f
e4
15.3 Hz Not assessed
Fig. 20. Schematic overview of the two-dimensional analytical and numerical models used for the simulation of system behaviour of the tower crane.
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2.5. Models for the simulation of vibration characteristics and dynamic stress of tension bars, case example tower crane
For the estimation of stresses at the fractured section the vibration characteristics of the highly pre tensioned tension bars
in second eigenfrequency needed to be simulated. Due to the great difference to static theory of trusses several systemati-
cally different approaches with analytical and numerical dynamic models (rigid, pre tensioned, vibrating systems of trusses
with several elements) were developed and applied, [8], Fig. 20.
The calculation models where calibrated using the (Eigen)frequencies measured within the real structure, compare 2.4.2.
They had good agreement among themselves and were used for following calculations:
v Vibration mode and shape of the whole counterweight tension rod.
v Inuence of the butt straps.
v Inuences of the joint restraint (E1 und E3) to the counterweight jib and tower top on vibration characteristics.
v Loading of components (inuence lines of bending and shear force) as well as structural stresses (FE-Modell in Fig. 20) at
the fractured section.
2.6. Structural analysis for the mobile crane
2.6.1. Aims of structural analysis
Wind induced, self-exciting vibrations may occur at slender structural elements especially with low damping. Therefore
the structural analysis investigations of the cranes focused on those vibration modes that exhibit very low damping. The
fractographic features of the broken tension bar indicated torsional loading which led to torsional vibrations [9].
2.6.2. Vibration measurements and system identication
The producer of the mobile crane executed vibration measurements with full scale models of the tension rods for
estimating the damping. As dominant inuence, the tension force was varied. Furthermore the Institute of Sound & Vibration
Research (UK), ISVR, conducted vibration measurements on the re-erected mobile crane [9]. The most important results for
torsional vibrations are given in Table 3. The results show relatively high (eigen)frequencies f
e
and a very low damping d for
torsional vibrations of the tension rods. Additionally it is obvious that higher tension load reduces damping, Table 3.
For the tower crane tension bars with B/d = 1 vibrating in bending mode the resonance frequency increased with tension.
For the mobile crane tension bars B/d = 8.3 vibrating in torsion mode the tension force had no inuence on resonance
frequency, see Table 3. This may be explained with the tension force that has (other than joint stiffness) no inuence on
the reset moment for torsional vibrations.
The eigenfrequency of the ISVR experiment decreased a little although the dimensions of the tension rod were increased.
In this case, the moment of inertia increased more than torsional stiffness did, so the eigenfrequency was reduced.
3. Aerodynamic analysis
For both case examples a complex aerodynamic analysis of the vibratory system of counterweight tension rod systemwas
carried out [9,10]. In the following, we rst focus on the tower crane.
3.1. Static wind loads and wind gusts
Static and quasi-static loads resulting from high wind speeds and wind gusts were not considered due to following
reasons:
v Comparatively low number of wind load cycles.
v In contrast, the fatigue fracture surface of the broken tension member showed a high number of load cycles.
v Bending vibration of the tension members most probably was in lateral direction (cp. Section 2.2.1), whereas quasistatic
wind loads act in longitudinal direction when the crane is out of service and the slew gear brake is open.
Table 3
Torsional vibration characteristics of the mobile crane rectangular tension member with B/d = 8.3.
Measurement Tension force T Fundamental torsional mode Remarks
Log. Decrement d Frequency f
e
Mannesmann 200 0.0046 ~13 Hz Full scale
Mannesmann 400 0.0030 ~13 Hz Full scale
ISVR 300 0.0022 ~12 Hz Slightly increased dimensions after repair
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3.2. Wind induced vibrations
3.2.1. General
Components with very low damping may be excited to vibrations in wind tunnels but also by natural wind. For the
tension rods affected here, the following excitation mechanisms are relevant [10]:
v Vortex induced lateral vibrations [5].
v Galloping vibrations (with bending or torsion as degrees of freedom).
v Interference galloping.
v Wake-galloping.
v Flutter.
Vortex induced lateral vibrations were considered using calculative estimations [10]. Within the wind speeds reported at
the tower crane they may have been induced. Nevertheless this excitation mechanismwas discarded because the amplitudes
estimated are too lowy < 0.5 mm to cause fatigue fracture of the tension bar. Other forms of self exciting wind induced vibra-
tions were considered but discarded [10] due to following reasons:
v Interference galloping is induced by interaction of cylinders close to each other. The tension bars are far more than 5
times the diameter apart.
v Wake galloping and Buffeting induce vibrations due to another body in windward direction. Both cranes had free wind
ow windward of the tension rods.
v Flutter is inducing coupled vibrations in bending and torsion mode simultaneously when their frequencies are close
together. The square prole unlikely vibrates in torsion mode and the rectangular prole with B/d = 8.3 bending and tor-
sion frequencies are different.
Summarising all conditions and results, galloping is most likely the phenomenon that induced vibrations and fatigue in
the tension bars of both cranes. The dominant loading, evaluated from fractographic features on the broken tension member,
Fig. 10, seemed to be bending in lateral direction. This led to the rst hypothesis that galloping vibrations in bending mode
may have induced stresses at the llet weld causal for fatigue fracture [10].
3.2.2. Physics of the Galloping-phenomenon
Galloping vibrations have been observed for the rst time by Den-Hartog on icy overhead electric lines [16]. Based on
those observations he explained the galloping-phenomenon using the example of D-shaped cross sections and pointed to
the possible instability of other cross sections [16].
The excitation mechanism is explained using the square shaped cross sections as an example. In Fig. 21 left the ow char-
acteristic of a quadratic cross section without motion and angular (a) approaching ow u

is depicted. The ow is stalling at


the upper windward edge whereas the ow is attached at the lower surface. This generates the pressure distribution shown
in Fig. 21 right. The pressure on the lower surface with higher ow speed is reduced more than on the upper surface. The
pressure differences result in a force directed downwards which causes a downward deection [10].
The same ow characteristic occurs, when the body with quadratic cross section moves with the vibration speed _ y lateral
to the approaching ow u

. Between the vectors approaching ow u

and vibration velocity _ y the relative angle of attack a


develops, and the pressure distribution equals the condition of the body without motion. The resulting lateral force L
y
(t) acts
in vibration direction and builds up the vibration movement; it acts as an excitation. Only vibration amplitudes bigger than
zero allow for this excitation mechanism. Therefore they are called motion-induced or self-excited vibrations.
Fig. 21. Flow characteristic and pressure distribution at a quadratic cross section [18].
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3.2.3. Approximation of the onset wind speed for galloping
The overall damping of the system is the sum of system damping of the mechanical structure and aerodynamic damping
(or excitation) of the prole in the wind ow. Galloping vibrations may only start if the overall damping is negative. Since
system damping is always positive, there must be an onset value for the wind speed when galloping excitation starts, [17].
The onset wind speed u
0
may be estimated for the relative vibration amplitude g = y/d = 0 with a stability diagram, Fig. 22,
showing the aerodynamic damping using the Scruton Number plotted over the reduced wind speed u
red
. The Scruton number
is a function of relative vibration amplitude g = y/d. The reduced wind speed is dened as
u
red
=
u

f
e
B
with eigenfrequency f
e
and width B of the prole in ow direction.
The onset wind speed u
0
depends nonlinearly on the structural damping (here Sc
s,i
), Fig. 22. As a result of many measure-
ments, galloping vibrations may start at the reduced wind speed u
red
marked A in Fig. 22. For a real value of structural
damping Sc
s,2
, the wind speed has to increase to u
red,2
until galloping starts. According to the old, stationary theory with
linear dependency (dashed line in Fig. 22) the onset wind speed would have been u
0
~ 0 m/s for damping ~0 [18].
3.2.4. Galloping frequency
Self exciting phenomenon like galloping do not excite with a specic wind given frequency! This type of wind induced
excitation amplies a mechanical vibration with a starting amplitude >0 in its own mechanically dened resonance
frequency or eigenfrequency. Therefore this type of wind induced vibrations is called self exciting or motion induced vibra-
tions. Once the threshold or onset wind speed u
0
, cp. Section 3.2.3, is exceeded, the vibration amplitudes will increase until
the power which is introduced by the wind equals the power dissipation due to material or system damping. This means: If
the damping of a mode is low, this mode is excited/amplied before another mode exceeds its onset wind speed u
0
. The
onset speeds were estimated in wind tunnel experiments, cp. Section 3.3.2.
3.2.5. Estimation of quasistationary galloping amplitudes
Fig. 22 shows that higher structural damping Sc
s,i
needs higher wind speed u
red
for starting galloping vibrations. For the
estimation of quasistationary (at constant wind speed) harmonic galloping amplitudes using the stability relation in Fig. 22,
the dependency of structural damping Sc
s,i
from harmonic vibration amplitudes y (or relative vibration amplitude g) is
needed. With the decay curves, Fig. 19 it was possible to roughly estimate this dependency. Usually structural damping in-
creases with vibration amplitude. After starting, galloping vibration amplitudes increase until the structural damping is as
high as the negative aerodynamic damping: stability.
3.2.6. Wind tunnel experiments and results
A model with similar geometry was used for experimental estimation of the aerodynamic and instationary aero elastic
factors. In the wind tunnel, decay experiments and tests with forced excitation were carried out [19]. For the quadratic cross
section and the critical angle of attack a = 4 the aerodynamic Scruton number for bending is given in Fig. 23.
For the rectan gular cross section with B/d = 8.3 the curve of the aerodynamic Scruton number for torsion with an ampli-
tude of u ~ 3 is shown in Fig. 9.
Both curves show the typical course of the aerodynamic Scruton number with a clearly stable portion in the instationary
range of wind speed, Figs. 23 and 9. A key result was that the quadratic section is sensitive only for galloping in bending
mode whereas the rectangular section with B/d = 8.3 for galloping in torsion mode only. In wind tunnel testing negative
aerodynamic damping occurred, see diagram (2) in Fig. 24, which is an indication for the galloping phenomenon.
Fig. 22. Aeroelastic stability diagram and denition of the stability velocity u
red,si
(g) [18].
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3.3. Stresses due to galloping vibrations for the example case tower crane
3.3.1. Measurements of wind speed, operating time
To reconstruct the development of wind speed during tower crane placement on the boiler house, meteorological data
were obtained from Germanys National Meteorological Service (Deutscher Wetterdienst, DWD). Wind data were needed
over a period 100 days. They were available from a meteorological station about 50 km away from the power plant building
site. The wind speed u(10 min) measured in a height of 10 m above ground and averaged over 10 min was extrapolated using
the power law for the wind speed prole u(h)
Fig. 23. Aerodynamic Scruton number Sc
a,y
for a quadratical cross section (tower crane) and for different amplitudes y/d with y = lateral vibration
amplitude, d = edge length) [19].
Fig. 24. Galloping amplitudes versus wind velocity (diagram 3); characteristic of structural-damping (diagram 1) and negative aerodynamic damping
(diagram 2); time history of wind velocity (diagram 4) and cumulative damage D at the location of the failure over time (Datum) (diagram 5); calculated
with onset wind speed u
0
= 15 m/s
2
and notch case Dr
A
= 36 N/mm
2
[19].
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u(h) = u
(10 min)

h
10

a
to the middle height of the tension bars 182 m above ground. The exponent a for the wind prole was estimated as a ~ 0.2.
The following time periods were considered as relevant or non-relevant, respectively:
v Time periods considered for galloping
o Periods out of operation.
o Periods within crane operating hours with wind speeds u P17 m/s (182 m), because the crane was standing idle and
could like a vane turn into the wind and into the critical angle of attack a = 4.
v Time periods not considered for galloping
o Tower crane operating hours Monday till Saturday from 7:00 to 18:00 hours, because the crane was rarely for a more
than minutes in the critical angle of attack a = 4 from behind.
3.3.2. Onset wind speed for galloping vibrations
The dependency between wind speed u and the vibration displacement amplitudes y was estimated using the character-
istic curve of amplitude-depending structural damping and aerodynamic damping (diagram (2) in Fig. 24). The aerodynamic
damping from Fig. 23 was approximated by a single line without amplitude dependency [19]. Thus the wind speed onset
value for relative vibration amplitude g = y/d = 0 could be estimated. The onset wind speed u
0
for galloping-vibrations in sec-
ond mode with f
e
-7.6 Hz was between 13 m/s and 15 m/s for the critical angle of attack a = 4. Since galloping excitation
has no frequency preferences and because the structural damping for the second eigenfrequency is considerably less than
for the fundamental, vibrations in second eigenfrequency were excited [10].
3.3.3. Galloping amplitudes and displacement spectra
Fig. 24 shows the characteristic functions structural damping (diagram (1)) and aerodynamic damping (diagram (2)) nec-
essary for the non-linear approach described in Section 3.2. They were used to estimate the damage increase over time for
the broken tension rod, diagram (5). Diagram (3) shows the curve of the relative vibration amplitude as a function of reduced
wind speed g = f(u
red
). With the time history of wind speed (10 min-averages) u
10-Min.
= f(t) in diagram (4) the time history of
the vibration displacement amplitudes was estimated. Due to the very low damping and therefore long tune in and decay
times the 10 min averages are adequate [19]. The aerodynamic investigations resulted in max. galloping vibration displace-
ment amplitudes of y
max
= 33 mmduring strongest wind and in the antinode of 2. eigenfrequency. From the Galloping ampli-
tude time history a spectra of galloping vibration displacement amplitudes were calculated, Fig. 25.
3.3.4. Estimation of nominal stress and partial damage
In the following denitions of DIN 50100 Continuous Vibration Test are used
r
m
= r
o
r
a
; 2r
a
= r
o
r
u
; r
u
= 2r
m
r
o
= j r
o
r
m
: mean stress; r
o
: maximum stress
r
u
: minimum stress; r
a
: stress amplitude;
j = r
u
=r
o
; stress ratio
For double stress amplitude Dr:Dr = 2 r
a
Fig. 25. Amplitude (displacement) spectrum caused by wind-induced crosswise galloping vibrations at f = 7.6 Hz of the tension bars during 100 days of
erection on top of the boiler house.
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With the models for simulation, cp. Section 2.5, and the galloping-amplitude time history, the moment M
xx
and the nom-
inal stress at the fractured tension member could be calculated as time histories for the whole in service time until fracture.
This was the rst and until now the only time for the author to be able to reconstruct time history of load and stress of
a fractured component in a satisfying correctness. The short in service time of the crane on the boiler house and availability
of wind speed measurement data which was the relevant loading here were a fortune coincidence for this failure analysis
case.
With the highest displacement amplitude in the antinode in second eigenfrequency of y
max
= 33 mm a moment of
M
xx
= 1650 Nm bending laterally acted at the fractured section. Nominal stress was r
a
= 46 N/mm
2
. Together with the
pre-tension due to the counterweights the maximum nominal stress at the llet weld during galloping vibrations was
r
N
= r
m
r
a
= 156 46 N/mm
2
.
With the galloping-amplitude spectra it was possible to calculate the in service load spectra and the stress spectra, which
again was a fortunate coincidence.
The increase of damage over time was reconstructed using damage accumulation according Palmgren/Miner (Miners
rule) D
d
= f(t) diagram (5) in Fig. 24.
Appropriate to the component, notch case Dr
A
= 36 N/mm
2
had to be chosen from Eurocode 3 [20]. Assuming the exis-
tence of a fatigue strength limit as [20] does, only vibration amplitudes y that occur at wind speeds higher than the limit
wind speed u
G
= 16 m/s can cause signicant damage to the tension member, diagram (4 + 5) in Fig. 24 [19]. Due to the high
frequency of the galloping vibrations, high number of cycles N > 3 10
6
occured during the service period of the tower crane.
3.4. Analysis of dimensioning according to relevant codes
For the analysis of the design and dimensioning of the tension members the german crane building standard DIN15018
[13] and the draft of Eurocode 3 [20] were used.
3.4.1. Procedure for consideration galloping vibrations
According to DIN15018 different components that are permanently separated may be classied into different load spectra
B1. . .B6 if the service conditions are well known. Although the tower crane had to be classied for normal operation with
load spectrum B3 according to DIN15018, the tension bars could be classied into load spectrum B5 or B6 (higher load cycles
and full spectrum) when considering galloping vibrations. Dynamic factors in [13] used for load changes during service were
not used here. For analysis of design, the nominal stresses calculated in Section 3.3 were compared with the allowable stres-
ses given in [13].
DIN 15018 denes allowable maximum stresses allowr
o
depending on material, loading type, mean stress, kind and
quality of the weld, shape and range of the load spectrum. Considering these parameters the spectra of galloping vibrations
had to be classied with load spectra B6. Kind and quality of the weld allows only the worst notch case K4, cp. Section 2.2.3
For load spectra B6/notch case K4 and mean stress of r
m
= 156 N/mm
2
resulted an allowable stress amplitude
allowr
a
= 14 N/mm
2
. The stresses during galloping vibrations r
a,max
are much higher than those allowed in DIN 15018
allowr
a
.
r
a;max
= 46 N=mm
2
> 14 N=mm
2
= allow r
a
According to DIN 15018 the tension rods are underdesigned for galloping vibrations.
Depending on the loading type as well as kind and quality of the weld (here notch case Dr
a
= 36 N/mm
2
) the design code
Eurocode 3 (EC3) denes a fatigue strength curve, which is a modied S/N Whlercurve. By means of linear damage accu-
mulation according to MINER the nominal stress spectra of the galloping vibration, similar to Fig. 25, shall be compared with
the fatigue strength curve, cp. Section 3.3.4. Comparable to the result achieved with the DIN standard [13] cp. Section 3.4, the
tension members are insufciently dimensioned for galloping. The damage sum D
d
is too high:
1; 9 = D
d
_ allow D
s
= 1; 0
All stress and strength analysis showed clearly that the tension bars were underdesigned for the dynamic loading with
galloping-vibrations. The fatigue fracture may be justied with those vibrations. A llet weld free from notches may have
increased service life but could not prevent fatigue fracture due to the wind induced vibrations.
4. Discussion
4.1. Example case tower crane
Precondition for galloping vibration excitation of the tension bars of the tower crane investigated here is the wind ow
approach from behind. This occurs when the crane is out of service and the slew gear brake is released as prescribed. Thus
the crane may turn into wind. Normally there is no load on the hook, therefore the tension force in the tension bar is at most.
Compared to other tower cranes, the tension rods are oriented almost vertically so that the cross section prole effective
in the horizontal ow plane did rarely deviate from square section of the tension members.
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Promoting factors for the fatigue failure were:
v Installation of the crane in high altitude and exposed position.
v Special conguration of the crane with short and heavy counterweight jib as well as high load capacity Phigh tension
forces acting on the tension rods.
v The tension elements have very low damping due to the use of solids instead of steel ropes and the high tension forces.
v High wind speeds during winter 1994/1995.
v Little awareness for galloping vibration in crane industry.
Each of these causes individually is uncritical. Their unfortunate coaction caused wind induced galloping vibrations. In
combination with the high pre-tension the dynamic stresses resulted in fatigue fracture after very short in-service time.
4.2. Example case mobile crane
Precondition for galloping vibration excitation of the tension bars of the mobile crane investigated here was the wind ow
approach parallel to the long edge of the rectangular prole. Due to the construction ow approach from aside occurred
when the slew gear brake was locked.
Promotive factors for the fatigue failure were:
v Slew gear locked and unfavourably wind from aside so that wind ow approach was parallel to the long edge of the rect-
angular section.
v Tension rods oriented almost vertically.
v Due to the main boom, tension rods were highly tensioned and rarely damped.
v High wind speeds occurred for several days, so that the main boom should have been laid down.
v High B/d ratio promoted torsional galloping vibrations.
4.3. Countermeasures example case tower crane
4.3.1. Immediate measures
For speedy continuation of the assembly of the boiler house, the damaged tower crane had to be repaired. The counter-
weight tension rods of all cranes of this type and those of the main booms were exchanged. The new tension rods were of
identical design but manufactured with notch free welds and all tested individually. Additionally redundant counterweight
jib tension rods were installed, (R in Fig. 26).
After it became clear that galloping vibrations were the root cause of the failure [8], the tension rods were equipped with
a damping device, Fig. 26. A damping system using hydraulic dampers was chosen out of many simple and temporary damp-
ing solutions [21]. A rigid steel tube rack was xed at the counterweights which carried the hydraulic dampers connected to
the tension rods, Fig. 26. Due to sliding and viscous friction in the damper even small vibration displacement amplitudes
were damped effectively.
Fig. 26. Damping device on counterweight: hydraulic dampers (D) coupled to the tension bars, redundant tension bars (R), MAN GHH Logistics, Heilbronn,
Germany, forced oscillation with electrodynamic shaker (S), position of acceleration sensors (A, B, C), BAM, Berlin, [15].
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4.3.2. Effectiveness of immediate countermeasures
The effectiveness of the damping device was veried by the author conducting experiments and analysis, [15]. Therefore
the procedure for vibration system identication using vibration response measurements, Fig. 26 and 2.4.1, evaluation of
decay curves, cp. Section 2.4.2 and the non-linear aerodynamic analysis, cp. Sections 3.2.3 and 3.3.2, was used [22].
4.3.3. Permanent measures
Some years later the author identied the type of tower crane damaged before and investigated as described above im-
proved with a very simple damping device: a link chain was coupled crosswise and at different antinodes between the two
tension rods to de-tune and damp vibrations, Fig. 27. This solution is really suitable for building sites as well. Chains are also
used for damping wind induced vibrations in slender light poles [23].
4.4. Example case mobile crane
4.4.1. Immediate measures
After reconstruction of the crane stock bridge dampers, Fig. 28, were mounted to all tension rods. Those dampers act as
dynamic vibration absorbers, capable for damping up to four eigenfrequencies.
4.4.2. Permanent measures
Whenever possible, rectangular sections, which are stable against bending and torsional galloping, shall be used for ten-
sion rods. Since 1993 extensive wind tunnel experiments to optimise the B/d ratio for aeroelastic stability have been carried
out at Institute for steel construction of RWTH-University Aachen, Germany in cooperation with Mannes mann-DEMAG,
Germany.
4.5. Further measures for slender structural elements
For prevention of wind induced vibration on slender structural elements, the following techniques are appropriate:
Fig. 27. Damping device on counterweight tension bars, steel link chain (arrow) between left and right tension bar connecting different vertical positions,
hoist rope between the tension bars.
Fig. 28. Stockbridge-damper [15].
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4.5.1. Immediate measures
v Wrapping thin ropes around the proles.
v Fixation of elements with low tension and deection with friction to increase damping [3].
4.5.2. Permanent measures
v Fluid dampers.
v Back to the roots: using steel ropes instead of tension rods.
v Tensions rods with small inclination.
v For vertical tension rods: turn the critical angle of attack away from the direction of the main boom.
5. Conclusions
Starting from the fatigue failure cases tower crane and mobile crane, the problem of dynamic loading due to wind-
induced vibration was analysed. The results verify that wind-induced galloping vibrations of counterweight tensions rods
(bending vibration at the tower crane and torsional vibrations at the mobile crane) must have occurred during the short time
of erection.
With the results of wind tunnel testing on rectangular and square proles as well as vibration response measurements for
system identication the onset value for wind speed was estimated. Beyond that the correlation between wind speed and
vibration amplitude in the antinode of the tension rods was established.
Using wind speed data recorded during the operation period of the tower crane, amplitudes and spectra of galloping
vibrations were calculated. Wind speeds above u

= 16 m/s caused stresses damaging the tension members at the weld.


Depending on the amount of damping, the onset wind speed u
0
for the mobile crane was between 21 m/s and 40 m/s.
5.1. Improved aerodynamic analysis in rules and standards
Starting from these and other results, an engineering procedure should be developed and fed into crane and steel
construction standards [13,20]. The linear approach for galloping in standard [24] shall be replaced by a more accurate
non-linear procedure similar to the one described here in Section 3.2 and in [25]. The non-linear approach with consider-
ation of transient effects was effective for the failure analyses of the crane failures [18].
Furthermore, cost-effective and reliable measures by design shall be developed to principally prevent highly loaded
tension rods from aerodynamic excitation.
5.2. Models for simulation of slender tension rods
With the models and procedures developed within these investigations [8] several tools and some experience for further
analyses on similar systems under wind loads are available. Therefore it is possible to vary design parameters (e.g. tension
force, geometry, stiffness, mass distribution, damping, etc.) for optimisation of vibration characteristics and estimation or
extension of life time.
5.3. Rising awareness of experts
Wind-induced vibrations of bridges and steel chimneys are under discussion in professional public and media since the
1990s. In cooperation with colleges and universities further awareness of engineers and experts for wind-induced vibrations
in cranes and measures to prevent them shall be achieved.
Acknowledgements
This paper is based on the extensive investigation results described in a BAM expert report [8]. The author cordially
thanks the experts and former BAM employees P. Schrimmer and H. Wohler for on-site survey, load and design analyses,
O. Paulinus for fractographic analyses, W. Florian for the evaluation of the welds, H. Lingott, G. Brekow and B. Behrendt
for non-destructive testing, W. Stichel for corrosion assessment, H.-J. Hublitz for on-site survey, cutting and preparation
of specimen, P. Wossidlo and W. Keller for mechanical testing. M. Krger and his colleagues carried out the experiments
and evaluation of vibration analysis of tension bars almost 190 m above ground level. M. Hortmanns and H. Ruscheweyh
planned, conducted and evaluated the aeroelastic experiments in the wind tunnel of RWTH Aachen, Germany.
The author expresses his gratitude to R. Brandt for digitising original data, diagrams and photographs D. Bettge and S.
Bohraus for comments and intensive discussion of this paper.
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C. Klinger / Engineering Failure Analysis xxx (2014) xxxxxx 23
Please cite this article in press as: Klinger C. Failures of cranes due to wind induced vibrations. Eng Fail Anal (2014), http://dx.doi.org/
10.1016/j.engfailanal.2013.12.007