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Effect of skew on live load distribution in integral bridges

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2009
Erol, Mehmet Ali
Structural analysis of highway bridges using complicated 3-D FEMs to determine live load effects in bridge components is possible due to the readily available computational tools in design offices. However, building such complicated 3-D FEMs is tedious and time consuming. Accordingly, most design engineers prefer using simplified 2-D structural models of the bridge and live load distribution equations (LLDEs) available in current bridge design codes to determine live load effects in bridge components. Basically, the live load effect obtained from a 2-D model is multiplied by a factor obtained from the LLDE to calculate the actual live load effect in a 3-D structure. The LLDE available in current bridge design codes for jointed bridges were also used for the design of straight and skewed integral bridges by bridge engineers. As a result, these bridges are either designed conservatively leading to additional construction cost or unconservatively leading to unsafe bridge designs. Recently, LLDEs for integral bridges (IBs) with no skew are developed. To use these equations for skewed integral bridges (SIBs) a correction factor is needed to multiply these equations to include the effect of skew. Consequently, in this research study, skew correction factors for SIBs are developed. For this purpose, finite element models of 231 different three dimensional and corresponding two dimensional structural models of SIBs are built and analyzed under live load. The analyses results reveal that the effect of skew on the distribution of live load moment and shear is significant. It is also observed that skew generally tends to decrease live load effects in girders and substructure components of SIBs. Using the analyses results, analytical equations are developed via nonlinear regression techniques to include skew effects in the LLDEs developed for straight IBs. The developed skew correction factors are compared with FEAs results. This comparison revealed that the developed skew correction factors yield a reasonably good estimate of the reduction in live load effects due to the effect of skew.