Bridge Monitoring to Allow for Reliable Dynamic FE Modelling A Case Study of the New Årsta Railway Bridge

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: Today’s bridge design work in many cases demands a trustworthy dynamic analysis instead of using the traditional dynamic amplification factors. In this thesis a reliable 3D Bernoulli-Euler beam finite element model of the New Årsta Railway Bridge was prepared for thorough dynamic analysis using in situ bridge monitoring for correlation. The bridge is of the concrete box girder type with a heavily reinforced and prestressed bridge deck. The monitoring system was designed for long term monitoring with strain transducers embedded in the concrete and accelerometers mounted inside the edge beams and at the lower edge of the track slab.The global finite element model used the exact bridge geometry but was simplified regarding prestressing cables and the two railway tracks. The prestressing cables and the tracks were consequently not included and an equivalent pure concrete model was identified.A static macadam train load was eccentrically placed on one of the bridge’s two tracks. By using Vlasov’s torsional theory and thereby including constrained warping a realistic modulus of elasticity for the concrete without prestressing cables and stiffness contribution from the railway tracks was found. This was allowed by comparing measured strain from strain transducers with the linear elastic finite element model’s axial stresses. Mainly three monitoring bridge sections were used, each of which was modelled with plane strain finite elements subjected to sectional forces/moments from a static macadam train load and a separately calculated torsional curvature.From the identified modulus of elasticity the global finite element model was updated for Poisson’s ratio and material density (mass) to correspond with natural frequencies from the performed signal analysis of accelerometer signals. The influence of warping on the natural frequencies of the global finite element model was assumed small and the bridge’s torsional behaviour was modelled to follow Saint-Venant’s torsional theory.A first preliminary estimation of modal damping ratios was included. The results indicated that natural frequencies were in accordance between modelling and signal analysis results, especially concerning high energy modes. Estimated damping ratios for the first vibration modes far exceeded the lower limit value specified in bridge design codes and railway bridge dynamic analysis recommendations.