Development of Finite Element Models to Predict Dynamic Bridge Response

Report No: 98-R8

Published in 1997

About the report:

Dynamic response has long been recognized as one of the significant factors affecting the service life and safety of bridge structures. Even though considerable research, both analytical and experimental, has been devoted to dynamic bridge behavior, the identification and extent of the controlling parameters that govern dynamic response have still not been clearly identified. A major requirement of any research program designed to address these issues is a convenient, accurate, and reliable analysis methodology that will permit any bridge engineer to easily construct a computer model of a bridge structure that will predict dynamic response. The primary objective of this investigation was to develop a convenient and reliable analysis methodology, specifically, a procedure for developing finite element bridge models that can accurately predict the static and dynamic response of bridges. Much of the previous research concerned with evaluating the dynamic response of bridges required the development of individual finite element models. In these studies, the commands and procedures used to define these models were remarkably similar, even for different bridges. Thus, this study focused on developing an interactive framework, consisting of a software package using ANSYS 5.0, that would permit bridge engineers to easily model any steel girder bridge regardless of skew, number of girders, or number of spans. This report describes the development of this finite element framework, provides validation through comparison with field test data, and illustrates its application to a typical bridge.

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

John B. Barefoot, Thomas Thaxton Baber, Furman W. Barton, Ph.D., Wallace T. McKeel, Jr., P.E.

Last updated: December 15, 2023

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