A Finite Difference Approach to the Modelling of Thick Bridge Decks

by N. E. Bencharif, Univ of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada,
S. F. Ng, Univ of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Computing in Civil and Building Engineering


The finite difference method, although well known as an efficient numerical method, was applied in the past, in the case of slabs, only for the solution of thin slabs. In the present study, the suitability of the method for problems of thick bridge decks is studied. Thick slabs are a type of slabs where the thickness is considerable and the approximate theories of thin slabs are no longer applicable. In thick plate theory, the thick slabs have to be treated as a three dimensional problem in elasticity. The displacement and stress analysis become, consequently, much more involved and until now, the problems have been solved only for a few particular cases. The difficulty in the analysis arises as a result of the complexities of the partial differential equations governing the behavior of thick slabs. Furthermore, the boundary conditions of thick slabs have to be satisfied in three directions, hence three functions determining the three displacements are required. The finite difference method as applied here is a modified finite difference approach to the ordinary finite difference method generally used for the analysis of thin slabs. This modified finite difference approach is first applied to investigate the behavior of clamped, square homogeneous thick slabs.

Subject Headings: Slabs | Bridge decks | Finite difference method | Stress analysis | Numerical methods | Displacement (mechanics) | Plates

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