This manuscript provides a detailed synopsis of the contemporary advancements in the nascent area of real time structural damage detection for vibrating systems. The paper mainly focuses on the theoretical development and engineering applications of algorithms that are premised on first order perturbation (FOP) techniques. The importance of the present work stems from the fact that recent developments in the field of online structural health monitoring (SHM) have given rise to algorithms that are computationally complex and consequently, are not amenable to real time implementation. In this paper, we discuss the FOP based algorithms in the light of all the contemporary non-adaptive/non-recursive techniques and establish its relevance. En route, we review 184 papers, most of which are supportive in nature. The efficacy, robustness and the applicability of the FOP family of the algorithms are explained stepwise in the light of several experimental, theoretical algorithm and field studies.

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