Safe operation, availability and lifetime assessment of piping are of utmost concern for plant operators. The knowledge on how failures in piping and its support construction are reflected in changes of the dynamic behavior (eigen-frequencies, -modes and damping) is a useful basis for System Identification and Structural Health Monitoring (SHM). Modal analysis of complex piping, the identification of system changes and the use of vibration dampers in piping still constitute challenges. In this study three different piping systems are investigated:

1. In the first piping system at a chemical plant, which is supported by a tall steel structure fixed at the base, piping-elbow forces at the top of the building cause large vibration amplitudes. Tuned mass dampers (TMD) for minimizing vibration amplitudes were first tested in the laboratory of MPA Stuttgart and then designed for the piping system in the plant for preventing failures.

2. Another piping system is reported that is excited at resonance frequency to cause failure due to in-plane bending in an elbow with local wall thinning.

3. Finally, a large piping system at a lignite power plant is investigated under ambient vibration to detect changes in boundary conditions.

Experimental Output Only Modal Analysis (OOMA) and Operational Modal Analysis (OMA), FE-model studies and model-updating are performed. Changes in the natural frequencies and corresponding mode shapes due to through-wall cracks or changing boundary conditions were observed.

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