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FE modelling and structural analysis of steel concrete composite bridges with precast deck elements and dry joints
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Structural Engineering and Bridges.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The competitiveness of composite bridges depends on several circumstances such as site

conditions, local costs of material and staff and the engineers’ and contractors’ experience.

One major advantage compared to concrete bridges is that the steel girders can carry the

weight of the formwork and the wet concrete which means that the need for temporary

structures is reduced. The consequent savings in construction time generally make the

composite bridges economical compared to concrete bridges.

Traditionally, the concrete deck is cast on site, which means that the work with the

formwork, reinforcement as well as the casting takes place outdoors. This work can be

problematic and expensive during wintertime in countries having a cold climate and time

consuming due to the additional time needed for the concrete hardening. Furthermore there

are a lot of bridges in different parts of the world that need to be replaced due to e.g. aging,

increased volume of traffic or traffic load. Therefore, new construction methods are required

to shorten the time disruption. New bridge systems need to be developed that will allow

components to be prefabricated offsite and moved into place for quick assembly.

The further step to improve the competitiveness of composite bridges, in the right direction

towards an industrialized construction, is thus to prefabricate not only the steel girders, but

also the concrete deck. The main advantages obtained by adopting this concept are a shorter

construction time leading to lower road-user costs associated with a lower traffic disruption,

and a higher and homogeneus concrete quality leading to a longer durability.

In this thesis an innovative solution for precast composite bridges adopting dry joints

between the concrete deck elements is investigated. This new concept is presented in a brief

literature review describing the state of the art around how different countries have built

their composite bridges with precast deck elements.

Hence a three-dimensional finite element model accounting for geometric and material

nonlinearity that simulates this special bridge system for a simply supported case is put

forward. Effort is put in order to create a model economical from a computational point of

view providing at the same time an easy to use tool for detailed structural analysis. Its

validity, reliability and degree of accuracy is tested against experimental data available in the


A parametric study is then carried out through a series of FE models with the aim to

investigate the structural performance of the system from initial loading towards the final

collapse. All aspects are studied in relation to the better known cast in place type, which

allows to better highlight the performance of the prefabricated one. Different aspects are

analyzed with focus both on the serviceability limit state and the ultimate limit state. In

particular deflections, stresses in the steel beam, concrete decks as well as in the shear stud

connectors are investigated. An assessment of the ultimate capacity is also given. The main

parameters under consideration in this parametric study are the span length and the initial

gap clearance at the joints.

Finally, conclusions concerning both the FE modelling and the analyses carried out are

presented and directions for further research are suggested. Regarding the aspects analysed

it is evident the influence of the gap clearance at the joints on the structural response mainly

for short spans. In particular the greater effects regard the increasing in deflection and the

shear stud connector behaviour.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Trita-BKN-Examensarbete, ISSN 1103-4297 ; 337
Keyword [en]
composite bridges, precast deck elements, dry joints, gap, nonlinear FE analysis
National Category
Infrastructure Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-100830ISRN: KTH/BKN/EX-337-SEOAI: diva2:545296
Subject / course
Structural Design and Bridges
Educational program
Master of Science in Engineering - Urban Management
Available from: 2012-09-05 Created: 2012-08-19 Last updated: 2012-09-05Bibliographically approved

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