Lateral load distribution for curved steel I -girder bridges

Hailing Zhang, Florida International University


Lateral load distribution factor is a key factor for designing and analyzing curved steel I-girder bridges. In this dissertation, the effects of various parameters on moment and shear distribution for curved steel I-girder bridges were studied using the Finite Element Method (FEM). The parameters considered in the study were: radius of curvature, girder spacing, overhang, span length, number of girders, ratio of girder stiffness to overall bridge stiffness, slab thickness, girder longitudinal stiffness, cross frame spacing, and girder torsional inertia. The variations of these parameters were based on the statistical analysis of the real bridge database, which was created by extracting data from existing or newly designed curved steel I-girder bridge plans collected all over the nation. A hypothetical bridge superstructure model that was made of all the mean values of the data was created and used for the parameter study. The study showed that cross frame spacing and girder torsional inertia had negligible effects. Other parameters had been identified as key parameters. Regression analysis was conducted based on the FEM analysis results and simplified formulas for predicting positive moment, negative moment, and shear distribution factors were developed. Thirty-three real bridges were analyzed using FEM to verify the formulas. The ratio of the distribution factor obtained from the formula to the one obtained from the FEM analysis, which was referred to as the g-ratio, was examined. The results showed that the standard deviation of the g-ratios was within 0.04 to 0.06 and the mean value of the g-ratios was greater than unity by one standard deviation. This indicates that the formulas are conservative in most cases but not overly conservative. The final formulas are similar in format to the current American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Load Resistance and Factor Design (LRFD) specifications. The developed formulas were compared with other simplified methods. The outcomes showed that the proposed formulas had the most accurate results among all methods. The formulas developed in this study will assist bridge engineers and researchers in predicting the actual live load distribution in horizontally curved steel I-girder bridges.

Subject Area

Civil engineering

Recommended Citation

Zhang, Hailing, "Lateral load distribution for curved steel I -girder bridges" (2002). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3076656.