Dynamic Soil-Structure Interaction Analysis of Railway Bridges : Numerical and Experimental Results

Abstract: The work reported in this thesis presents a general overview of the dynamic response of short-span railway bridges considering soil-structure interaction. The study aims to identify the effect of the surrounding and underlying soil on the global stiffness and damping of the structural system. This may lead to better assumptions and more efficient numerical models for design.A simple discrete model for calculating the dynamic characteristics of the fundamental bending mode of single span beam bridges on viscoelastic supports was proposed. This model was used to study the effect of the dynamic stiffness of the foundation on the modal parameters (e.g. natural frequency and damping ratio) of railway beam bridges. It was shown that the variation in the underlying soil profiles leads to a different dynamic response of the system. This effect depends on the ratio between the flexural stiffness of the bridge and the dynamic stiffness of the foundation-soil system but also on the ratio between the resonant frequency of the soil layer and the fundamental frequency of the bridge.The effect of the surrounding soil conditions on the vertical dynamic response of portal frame bridges was also investigated both numerically and experimentally. To this end, different numerical models (i.e. full FE models and coupled FE-BE models) have been developed. Controlled vibration tests have been performed on two full-scale portal frame bridges to determine the modal properties of the bridge-soil system and calibrate the numerical models. Both experimental and numerical results identified the substantial contribution of the surrounding soil on the global damping of short-span portal frame bridges. A simplified model for the surrounding soil was also proposed in order to define a less complicated model appropriate for practical design purposes.