Experimental modal analysis (EMA) is widely implemented to obtain the modal parameters of an offshore platform, which is crucial to many practical engineering issues, such as vibration control, finite element model updating and structural health monitoring. Traditionally, modal parameters are identified from the information of both the input excitation and output response. However, as the size of offshore platforms becomes huger, imposing artificial excitation is usually time-consuming, expensive, sophisticated and even impossible. To address this problem, a preferred solution is operational modal analysis (OMA), which means the modal testing and analysis for a structure is in its operational condition subjected to natural excitation with output-only measurements. This paper investigate the applicability of utilizing response from natural ice loading for operational modal analysis of real offshore platforms. The test platform is the JZ20-2MUQ Jacket platform located in the Bohai Bay, China. A field experiment is carried out in winter season, when the platform is excited by floating ices. An accelerometer is installed on a leg and two segments of acceleration response are employed for identifying the modal parameters. In the modal parameter identification, specifically applied is the data-driven stochastic sub-space identification (SSI-data) method. It is one of the most advanced methods based on the first-order stochastic model and the QR algorithm for computing the structural eigenvalues. To distinguish the structural modal information, stability diagrams are constructed by identifying parametric models of increasing order. Observing the stability diagrams, the modal frequencies and damping ratios of four structural modes can be successfully identified from both segments. The estimated information from both segments are almost identical, which demonstrates the identification is trustworthy. Besides, the stability diagrams from SSI-data method are very clean, and the poles associated with structural modes can become stabilized at very low model order. The research in this paper is meaningful for the platforms serving in cold regions, where the ices could be widespread. Utilizing the response from natural ice loading for modal parameter identification would be efficient and cost-effective.

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