Finite Element Modeling and Analysis of Reinforced-Concrete Bridge Decks

Report No: 01-R4

Published in 2000

About the report:

Despite its long history, the finite element method continues to be the predominant strategy employed by engineers to conduct structural analysis. A reliable method is needed for analyzing structures made of reinforced concrete, a complex but common ingredient in many bridges in Virginia. As an effective alternative to extensive experimentation, this study was implemented to evaluate the plausibility of finite element analysis of reinforced-concrete bridge decks. Analytical evaluations were performed with the commercial, general-purpose finite element code ABAQUS, which can effectively depict the nonlinear behavior of concrete. It also has the unique capability of describing the behavior of reinforcing bars independently of the concrete material. Three-dimensional finite element models were developed to determine the overall structural response of several reinforced-concrete systems. Biaxial strain distribution through the element thickness, longitudinal normal girder strains, and displacements were predicted with reasonable accuracy. The accuracy of the model was verified with hand calculations or response data acquired from laboratory testing.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

R. Michael Biggs, Peter J. Massarelli, Furman W. Barton, Ph.D., Jose P. Gomez, Ph.D., P.E., Wallace T. McKeel, Jr., P.E.

Last updated: December 7, 2023

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