Pyramidal truss sandwich panels (PTSPs) are widely used in engineering structures and their face sheets and core part are generally bonded by the welding process. A large number of solid elements are usually required in the finite element model of a PTSP with welded joints to obtain its accurate modal parameters. Ignoring welded joints of the PTSP can save many degrees of freedom (DOFs), but significantly change its natural frequencies. This study aims to accurately determine modal parameters of a PTSP with welded joints with much fewer DOFs than its solid element model and obtain its operational modal analysis results by avoiding missing its modes. Two novel methods that consider welded joints as equivalent stiffness are proposed to create beam-shell element models of the PTSP. The main step is to match stiffnesses of beam and shell elements of a welded joint with those of its solid elements. Compared with the solid element model of the PTSP, its proposed models provide almost the same levels of accuracy for natural frequencies and mode shapes for the first 20 elastic modes, while reducing DOFs by about 98% for the whole structure and 99% for each welded joint. The first 14 elastic modes of a PTSP specimen that were measured without missing any modes by synchronously capturing its two-faced vibrations through use of a three-dimensional scanning laser vibrometer and a mirror experimentally validate its beam-shell element models created by the two proposed methods.

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