American Society of Civil Engineers

Monitoring and Analysis of a Bridge with Partially Restrained Bearings

by Yongda Fu, (Struct. Engr., United Intl. Corp., Wallingford, CT 06492) and John T. DeWolf, F.ASCE, (Prof., Dept. of Civ. and Envir. Engrg., Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs, CT)

Journal of Bridge Engineering, Vol. 6, No. 1, January/February 2001, pp. 23-29, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: This paper reports on the monitoring and analysis of a two-span bridge in which the bearings were partially restrained. In an earlier experimental study, it was shown that the natural frequencies changed in colder weather, and it appeared that this was due to restraints in the end bearings. This research was conducted to verify this initial conclusion and to develop an analytical approach based on the finite-element method to model this change. Additional field measurements were made. The non-linear dynamic finite-element analysis is based on a planar model that includes the influence of both the deck cracking and the eccentric axial forces, which develop when the bearings are restrained. Both the flexural and the torsional modes are evaluated. Although the changes in the bearings and the overall structural behavior were relatively small, the results show that it was nevertheless possible to verify the changes with a nonlinear dynamic finite-element analysis calibrated with field measurements.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Natural frequency
Restraint systems
Load bearing capacity
Finite element method