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Bracing of steel bridges during construction; theory, full-scale tests and simulations

Mehri, Hassan LU (2015)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in English

Bracings are structural components that assure the stability of the load bearing structures is maintained so as a desired level of load-carrying capacity of them is achieved. The present study as a whole involves investigations of either the temporary or permanent bracings that are often required during the construction phase of steel bridges. Current knowledge concerning bracing requirements for steel bridges during construction is also discussed. Investigations of possible brace alternatives to the conventional ones were also of interest.

Bridges are an important part of a country's road network. New bridges are often built over busy roads or railways. Traditionally, bridge... (More)
Popular Abstract in English

Bracings are structural components that assure the stability of the load bearing structures is maintained so as a desired level of load-carrying capacity of them is achieved. The present study as a whole involves investigations of either the temporary or permanent bracings that are often required during the construction phase of steel bridges. Current knowledge concerning bracing requirements for steel bridges during construction is also discussed. Investigations of possible brace alternatives to the conventional ones were also of interest.

Bridges are an important part of a country's road network. New bridges are often built over busy roads or railways. Traditionally, bridge construction involves the in-place casting of concrete, this requiring both time and a large space, this often causing serious traffic problems. To reduce disruptions of this sort, it is extremely important that a bridge's assembly be performed as quickly, smoothly, and as safely as possible. A type of bridge that makes smooth and relatively quick installations possible, and that during the last few decades has taken over a large part of the bridge market, is that of the so-called composite steel-concrete bridge. The installation of steel-concrete bridges, however, is a critical matter in the designing of such bridges, it is often controlling the size of both the steel girders and the bracings.

In recent years, a number of accidents during the construction of steel bridges have occurred due to various instability phenomena during concreting phase in bridge construction. An example of such accidents is the collapse of Bridge Y1504 over the Gide River in Sweden that occurred in 2002. The investigations that took place following the accident required considerable costs and efforts in themselves, and replacing the bridge cost approximately twice the original budget for building of the bridge. Although two workers dropped down to the ground when the bridge collapsed, there were fortunately no fatalities, since the bridge was not particularly high. There have also been failures in the construction of composite bridges due to problems caused by the instability of their falseworks (the timber made elements that hold the fresh concrete during concreting phase till the concrete deck has hardened). The falsework failure in connection with the Älandsfjärden Bridge in Sweden in 2008 is an example of such an accident, five construction workers there falling 20 meters down to the ground, two of them being killed, and two severely injured. There have been also recent bridge collapses in Norway (Trondheim Bridge on May 8, 2013, two persons killed) and in Denmark (in Aalborg in June of 2006, one person killed; and in Helsingør in September of 2014) all of which occurred during concreting of their deck.

Despite the fact that bracings are generally highly effective in controlling the out-of-plane deformation of steel bridges, relatively few guidelines and design recommendations are available regarding this matter. It was found that providing slight bracings can effectively enhance the resistance of steel girders. By using improper bracings, too large a lateral deflection of the bridges of this type could easily occur.

The financial support this Ph.D. study received were from the “J. Gust Richert Stiftelse” Dnr 2012/05, “The Lars Erik Lundbergs Stipendiestiftelse” Dnr 2013/07 and Dnr 2014/05, this including also a research grant from Byggrådet to support the laboratory testing. Moreover, Britek AB and also Structural Metal Decks (SMD) Ltd provided the project with the scaffoldings and the corrugated metal sheets that were needed during the laboratory tests. (Less)
Abstract
A number of steel bridges have suffered lateral-torsional failure during their construction due to their lacking adequate lateral and/or rotational stiffness. In most cases, slight bracing can be of great benefit to the main girders involved through their controlling out-of-plane deformations and enabling the resistance that is needed to be achieved. The present research concerned the performance of different bracing systems, both those of commonly used types and pragmatic alternatives. The methods that were employed include the derivation of analytical solutions, full-scale laboratory testing, and numerical modeling.

The results of a part of the study showed that the load-carrying capacity of The Marcy Bridge that collapsed in... (More)
A number of steel bridges have suffered lateral-torsional failure during their construction due to their lacking adequate lateral and/or rotational stiffness. In most cases, slight bracing can be of great benefit to the main girders involved through their controlling out-of-plane deformations and enabling the resistance that is needed to be achieved. The present research concerned the performance of different bracing systems, both those of commonly used types and pragmatic alternatives. The methods that were employed include the derivation of analytical solutions, full-scale laboratory testing, and numerical modeling.

The results of a part of the study showed that the load-carrying capacity of The Marcy Bridge that collapsed in 2002 could be improved by adding top flange plan bracing at 10-20% of its span near the supports. Theoretically, according to Eurocode 3, providing each bar of an X-type plan bracing having cross-sectional area as small as 8 mm^2 serves to enhance the load-carrying capacity of the bridge by a factor of 1.28, which is sufficient to prevent failure of the bridge during the casting of the deck.

The research also included the derivation of a simplified analytical approach for determining the critical moment of the laterally braced steel girders at the level of their compression flange, which otherwise can usually not be predicted without the use of finite element program. The model employed related the buckling length of the compression flange of steel girders in question to their critical moment. An exact solution and a simplified expression were also derived for dealing with the effect of the rotational restraint of the shorter segments on the buckling length of the longer segments in beams having unequally spaced lateral bracings. The effects of this sort are often neglected in practice and the buckling length of compression members in such systems is commonly assumed to be equal to the largest distance between the bracing points. However, the present study showed that this assumption can provide an unsafe prediction of buckling length for relatively soft bracings and can also lead to a significant overdesign in regard to most bracing stiffness values in practice.

Full-scale experimental study on a twin-I girder bridge together with numerical works on different bridge dimensions were carried out on the stabilizing performance of a type of scaffolding that is frequently used in the construction of composite bridges. Minor improvements were discussed which found to be needed in the structure of the scaffoldings that were employed. Findings showed the proposed scaffoldings to have a significant stabilizing potential when they were installed on bridges of differing lateral-torsional slenderness ratios. Axial strains in the scaffolding bars were also measured. Indications of the design brace moment involved were also presented which was approximately between 2 and 4% of the maximum in-plane bending moment in the main girders.

Three full-scale experimental studies were also performed on a twin I-girder bridge in which the location of the cross-beam across the depth of the main girders was varied. The effects of several different relevant imperfection shapes on the bracing performance of the cross-beams were of interest. It was found that the design recommendations currently employed can provide uncertain and incorrect predictions of the brace forces present in the cross-bracings. Both the tests and FE investigations carried out showed the shape of the geometric imperfections involved to have a major effect on the distortion that occurred in the braced bridge cross-sections. It was also found that significant warping stresses could develop in cross-beams having asymmetric cross-sections, the avoiding of such profiles in the cross-beams being recommended.

Finally, seven full-scale laboratory tests of the end-warping restraints of truss-bracings and of corrugated metal sheets when they were installed on a twin I-girder bridge were also performed. The load-carrying capacity of the bridge was found to be enhanced by a factor of 2.5-3.0 when such warping restraints were provided near the support points. Relatively small forces were developed in the truss-bracing bars in order to such significant improvements in the load-carrying capacity of the bridge to be achieved. Moreover, bracing the bridge in question by means of the metal sheets that were employed was found to result in a significantly larger degree of lateral deflection at midspan than use of the utilized truss bracings did. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Höglund, Torsten, Professor Emeritus, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Bracing, steel-concrete composite, steel, bridge, test, construction, laboratory, experiment, experimental, theory
pages
137 pages
defense location
Lecture hall MA3 at Mathematics Annex building, Sölvegatan 20, Lund University, Faculty of Engineering LTH, Lund, Sweden.
defense date
2016-01-22 10:15
ISSN
0349-4969
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
99526765-cf44-4cbc-bfe5-32e261fdea4f (old id 8431511)
date added to LUP
2015-12-29 08:01:14
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:01
@phdthesis{99526765-cf44-4cbc-bfe5-32e261fdea4f,
  abstract     = {A number of steel bridges have suffered lateral-torsional failure during their construction due to their lacking adequate lateral and/or rotational stiffness. In most cases, slight bracing can be of great benefit to the main girders involved through their controlling out-of-plane deformations and enabling the resistance that is needed to be achieved. The present research concerned the performance of different bracing systems, both those of commonly used types and pragmatic alternatives. The methods that were employed include the derivation of analytical solutions, full-scale laboratory testing, and numerical modeling. <br/><br>
The results of a part of the study showed that the load-carrying capacity of The Marcy Bridge that collapsed in 2002 could be improved by adding top flange plan bracing at 10-20% of its span near the supports. Theoretically, according to Eurocode 3, providing each bar of an X-type plan bracing having cross-sectional area as small as 8 mm^2 serves to enhance the load-carrying capacity of the bridge by a factor of 1.28, which is sufficient to prevent failure of the bridge during the casting of the deck. <br/><br>
The research also included the derivation of a simplified analytical approach for determining the critical moment of the laterally braced steel girders at the level of their compression flange, which otherwise can usually not be predicted without the use of finite element program. The model employed related the buckling length of the compression flange of steel girders in question to their critical moment. An exact solution and a simplified expression were also derived for dealing with the effect of the rotational restraint of the shorter segments on the buckling length of the longer segments in beams having unequally spaced lateral bracings. The effects of this sort are often neglected in practice and the buckling length of compression members in such systems is commonly assumed to be equal to the largest distance between the bracing points. However, the present study showed that this assumption can provide an unsafe prediction of buckling length for relatively soft bracings and can also lead to a significant overdesign in regard to most bracing stiffness values in practice. <br/><br>
Full-scale experimental study on a twin-I girder bridge together with numerical works on different bridge dimensions were carried out on the stabilizing performance of a type of scaffolding that is frequently used in the construction of composite bridges. Minor improvements were discussed which found to be needed in the structure of the scaffoldings that were employed. Findings showed the proposed scaffoldings to have a significant stabilizing potential when they were installed on bridges of differing lateral-torsional slenderness ratios. Axial strains in the scaffolding bars were also measured. Indications of the design brace moment involved were also presented which was approximately between 2 and 4% of the maximum in-plane bending moment in the main girders.<br/><br>
Three full-scale experimental studies were also performed on a twin I-girder bridge in which the location of the cross-beam across the depth of the main girders was varied. The effects of several different relevant imperfection shapes on the bracing performance of the cross-beams were of interest. It was found that the design recommendations currently employed can provide uncertain and incorrect predictions of the brace forces present in the cross-bracings. Both the tests and FE investigations carried out showed the shape of the geometric imperfections involved to have a major effect on the distortion that occurred in the braced bridge cross-sections. It was also found that significant warping stresses could develop in cross-beams having asymmetric cross-sections, the avoiding of such profiles in the cross-beams being recommended. <br/><br>
Finally, seven full-scale laboratory tests of the end-warping restraints of truss-bracings and of corrugated metal sheets when they were installed on a twin I-girder bridge were also performed. The load-carrying capacity of the bridge was found to be enhanced by a factor of 2.5-3.0 when such warping restraints were provided near the support points. Relatively small forces were developed in the truss-bracing bars in order to such significant improvements in the load-carrying capacity of the bridge to be achieved. Moreover, bracing the bridge in question by means of the metal sheets that were employed was found to result in a significantly larger degree of lateral deflection at midspan than use of the utilized truss bracings did.},
  author       = {Mehri, Hassan},
  issn         = {0349-4969},
  keyword      = {Bracing,steel-concrete composite,steel,bridge,test,construction,laboratory,experiment,experimental,theory},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {137},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Bracing of steel bridges during construction; theory, full-scale tests and simulations},
  year         = {2015},
}