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Recently, I noticed some strange objects attached to the cables of a bridge (in Münster, Germany):

Bridge

What are they called and what is their purpose? They don't look like connectors of any kind nor do they seem to provide any support to the cables.

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    $\begingroup$ A better picture of the bit is needed. $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 8, 2023 at 9:12
  • $\begingroup$ My first thought was they were acoustical emissions monitors, but I can't find any that look like that or have that kind of placement on cables. $\endgroup$
    – Phil Sweet
    Jul 9, 2023 at 11:11
  • $\begingroup$ Wolbecker Road Bridge on the Dortmund-Ems Canal? $\endgroup$
    – david
    Jul 10, 2023 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ @SolarMike I might take a better picture when I'm near the bridge again. $\endgroup$
    – BridgeFan
    Jul 11, 2023 at 19:41
  • $\begingroup$ @david Exactly, yes. $\endgroup$
    – BridgeFan
    Jul 11, 2023 at 19:41

2 Answers 2

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From a website of a manufacturer of a similarly shaped item, this may be a variation on a Stockbridge Damper:

Stockbridge damper

Note that the shapes of these types of devices vary from application to application and are likely to be tuned for each specific installation. The "world of wiki" provides a summary:

Stockbridge damper is a tuned mass damper used to suppress wind-induced vibrations on slender structures such as overhead power lines, long cantilevered signs and cable-stayed bridges. The dumbbell-shaped device consists of two masses at the ends of a short length of cable or flexible rod, which is clamped at its middle to the main cable. The damper is designed to dissipate the energy of oscillations in the main cable to an acceptable level.

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  • $\begingroup$ Original picture maybe a damper, but does not actually look like a stockbridge damper. $\endgroup$
    – david
    Jul 10, 2023 at 8:21
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Perhaps a pendulum detuner? Used to control low-frequency vibration coupled to the road bed (rather than high-frequency aolean vibration controlled by stockbridge dampers or spiral vibration dampers).

The bridge is slightly unusual (and slightly modern). Dampers may have been added after testing after original construction.

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