Transverse Stiffener Requirements in Straight and Horizontally Curved Steel I-Girders
Kim, Yoon Duk
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Recent research studies have confirmed that curved I-girders are capable of developing substantial shear postbuckling resistance due to tension field action and have demonstrated that the AASHTO LRFD equations for the tension field resistance in straight I-girders may be applied to curved I-girders within specific limits. However, the corresponding demands on intermediate transverse stiffeners in curved I-girders are still largely unknown. Furthermore, a number of prior research studies have demonstrated that transverse stiffeners in straight I-girders are loaded predominantly by bending induced by their restraint of web lateral deflections at the shear strength limit state, not by in-plane tension field forces. This is at odds with present Specification approaches for the design of transverse stiffeners, which are based on (1) providing sufficient stiffener bending rigidity only to develop the shear buckling strength of the web and (2) providing sufficient stiffener area to resist the in-plane tension field forces. In this research, the behavior of one- and two-sided intermediate transverse stiffeners in straight and horizontally curved steel I-girders is investigated by refined full nonlinear finite element analysis. Variations in stiffener rigidity, panel aspect ratio, panel slenderness, and stiffener type are considered. New recommendations for design of transverse stiffeners in straight and curved I-girder bridges are developed by combining the solutions from the above FEA studies with the results from prior research.