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Seismic Analysis of a S-Curved Viaduct using Stick and Finite Element Models

Authors: Sourabh Agrawal, Ashok K. Jain


Stick models are widely used in studying the behaviour of straight as well as skew bridges and viaducts subjected to earthquakes while carrying out preliminary studies. The application of such models to highly curved bridges continues to pose challenging problems. A viaduct proposed in the foothills of the Himalayas in Northern India is chosen for the study. It is having 8 simply supported spans @ 30 m c/c. It is doubly curved in horizontal plane with 20 m radius. It is inclined in vertical plane as well. The superstructure consists of a box section. Three models have been used: a conventional stick model, an improved stick model and a 3D finite element model. The improved stick model is employed by making use of body constraints in order to study its capabilities. The first 8 frequencies are about 9.71% away in the latter two models. Later the difference increases to 80% in 50th mode. The viaduct was subjected to all three components of the El Centro earthquake of May 1940. The numerical integration was carried out using the Hilber- Hughes-Taylor method as implemented in SAP2000. Axial forces and moments in the bridge piers as well as lateral displacements at the bearing levels are compared for the three models. The maximum difference in the axial forces and bending moments and displacements vary by 25% between the improved and finite element model. Whereas, the maximum difference in the axial forces, moments, and displacements in various sections vary by 35% between the improved stick model and equivalent straight stick model. The difference for torsional moment was as high as 75%. It is concluded that the stick model with body constraints to model the bearings and expansion joints is not desirable in very sharp S curved viaducts even for preliminary analysis. This model can be used only to determine first 10 frequency and mode shapes but not for member forces. A 3D finite element analysis must be carried out for meaningful results.

Keywords: Seismic, expansion joint, bearing, finite element, time history analysis, stick model, body constraint, box girder, curved viaduct, link element

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