Three Dimensional Finite Element Modeling of Integral Bridges Subjected to Thermal Loading


Results of a full 3D finite element analysis of an integral abutment bridge subjected to a combined thermal and gravity loading are presented. The three-span, 45.7 m long integral bridge with steel deck over the Nashua River in Fitchburg, Massachusetts was slightly modified for the analysis and subjected to the temperature increase from −17.8°C to 37.8°C in the presence of a loose sand behind the abutment and dense sand behind the steel HP piles. The bridge responded with a restrained abutment motion, which is predominately translational, thus inducing significant bending stresses in piles. In the present analysis scenario the stresses in piles are larger than the compressive axial stresses in steel girders that develop due to a restrained bridge expansion.

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Finite Element Model
  • Results and Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • Acknowledgements
  • References

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