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Efficient Numerical Model for Studying Bridge Pier Collapse in Floods

Authors: Thanut Kallaka, Ching-Jong Wang


High level and high velocity flood flows are potentially harmful to bridge piers as evidenced in many toppled piers, and among them the single-column piers were considered as the most vulnerable. The flood flow characteristic parameters including drag coefficient, scouring and vortex shedding are built into a pier-flood interaction model to investigate structural safety against flood hazards considering the effects of local scouring, hydrodynamic forces, and vortex induced resonance vibrations. By extracting the pier-flood simulation results embedded in a neural networks code, two cases of pier toppling occurred in typhoon days were reexamined: (1) a bridge overcome by flash flood near a mountain side; (2) a bridge washed off in flood across a wide channel near the estuary. The modeling procedures and simulations are capable of identifying the probable causes for the tumbled bridge piers during heavy floods, which include the excessive pier bending moments and resonance in structural vibrations.

Keywords: Neural Networks, structural safety, vortex shedding, bridge piers, scour depth

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