This paper presents an inverse approach for estimating time varying loads acting on a structure from experimental strain measurements using model reduction. The strain response of an elastic vibrating system is written as a linear superposition of strain modes. Since the strain modes as well as the normal displacement modes are intrinsic dynamic characteristics of a system, the dynamic loads exciting a structure are estimated by measuring induced strain fields. The accuracy of estimated loads is dependent on the placement of gages on the instrumented structure and the number of retained strain modes from strain modal analysis. A solution procedure based on construction of D-optimal design is implemented to determine the optimum locations and orientations of strain gages. An efficient approach is proposed which makes use of model reduction technique, resulting in significant improvement in the dynamic load estimation. Validation of the proposed approach through a numerical example problem is also presented.

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