Experimental and analytical investigations of the thermal behavior of prestressed concrete bridge girders including imperfections
MetadataShow full item record
An experimental and analytical study was conducted on a BT-63 prestressed concrete girder to investigate the thermal effects on the girder. A 2D finite element heat transfer analysis model was then developed which accounted for heat conduction, convection, radiation, and irradiation. The solar radiation was predicted using the location and geometry of the girder, variations in the solar position, and the shadow from the top flange on other girder surfaces. The girder temperatures obtained from the 2D heat transfer analysis matched well with the measurements. Using the temperatures from the 2D heat transfer analysis, a 3D solid finite element analysis was performed assuming the temperatures constant along the length of the girder. The maximum vertical displacement due to measured environmental conditions was found to be 0.29 inches and the maximum lateral displacement was found to be 0.57 inches. Using the proposed numerical approach, extremes in thermal effects including seasonal variations and bridge orientations were investigated around the United States to propose vertical and transverse thermal gradients which could then be used in the design of I-shaped prestressed concrete bridge girders. A simple beam model was developed to calculate the vertical and lateral thermal deformations which were shown to be within 6% of the 3D finite element analyses results. Finally, equations were developed to predict the maximum thermal vertical and lateral displacements for four AASHTO-PCI standard girders. To analyze the combined effects of thermal response, initial sweep, and bearing support slope on a 100-foot long BT-63 prestressed concrete girder, a 3D finite element sequential analysis procedure was developed which accounted for the changes in the geometry and stress state of the girder in each construction stage. The final construction stage then exposed the girder to thermal effects and performed a geometric nonlinear analysis which also considered the nonlinear behavior of the elastomeric bearing pads. This solution detected an instability under the following conditions: support slope of 5¡Æ and initial sweep of 4.5 inches.