American Society of Civil Engineers


Experimental Study and Numerical Simulation on Concrete Box Culverts in Trenches


by Bao-guo Chen, Ph.D., (Lecturer, Institute of Geotechnical and Underground Engineering, Huazhong Univ. of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, People’s Republic of China; and, Engineering Faculty, China Univ. of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, People’s Republic of China. E-mail: baoguo_chen@126.com), Jun-jie Zheng, (corresponding author), (Professor Dr., Institute of Geotechnical and Underground Engineering, Huazhong Univ. of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, People’s Republic of China E-mail: zhengjj@hust.edu.cn), and Jie Han, M.ASCE, (Associate Professor, Dr., Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering Dept., The Univ. of Kansas, KS 66045. E-mail: jiehan@ku.edu)

Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, Vol. 24, No. 3, May/June 2010, pp. 223-234, (doi:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CF.1943-5509.0000098)

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Concrete culverts in trenches have been widely used in expressways. Problems frequently take place because of improperly estimated vertical earth pressures on culverts. Different codes have been used in China to estimate the design load on culverts. In this study, a full-scale experiment and FEM simulation were conducted to evaluate the variation of vertical earth pressures and soil arching in backfill and to examine the accuracy of the methods recommended by different design codes including the prevailing Chinese General Code for Design of Highway Bridges and Culverts based on the linear earth pressure theory. The measured vertical earth pressures from the experiment were compared with those from the current theoretical methods. The variations of foundation pressure and settlement were also analyzed. The FEM simulation investigated the key influencing factors on the vertical earth pressures including the height of the embankment fill, the width of the trench, the slope angle of the trench, the dimensions of the culvert, the properties of the backfill, and the elastic modulus of the foundation soil. This research reveals that soil arch formed when the backfill on the culvert reached a certain height, but it was unstable. The coefficient of the vertical earth pressure on the top of the culvert was significantly different from that recommended by the Chinese General Code for Design of Highway Bridges and Culverts.


ASCE Subject Headings:
Culverts
Concrete
Earth pressure
Trenches
Arches
Soil-structure interactions
Experimentation
Simulation
China

Author Keywords:
Culvert
Earth pressure
Soil arch
Soil-structure interaction
Full-scale experiment
Numerical simulation