Crack and Contact Problems in Masonry Arch Bridges

by N. G. Gong, Univ of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom,
B. S. Choo, Univ of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom,
M. G. Coutie, Univ of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Computing in Civil and Building Engineering


A two-dimensional finite element program has been developed to predict the load carrying capacity of masonry arch bridges with different structural defects such as missing bricks and tangential cracking (which results in ring separation). Cracks in the arch ring are simulated by separating the elements. Different crack patterns are allowed for in the numerical model. Contact and frictional behavior between arch ring interfaces are simulated in conjunction with an incremental load solution procedure. Singularity problems were encountered in using the numerical model and a simple method employing links between the separated elements to overcome these problems was used. The program has been used to analyze the behavior of brick arch bridges with separated arch rings and results compared satisfactorily with test data.

Subject Headings: Arch bridges | Bridge tests | Numerical models | Cracking | Masonry | Finite element method | Contact mechanics

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