Performance load testing and structural adequacy evaluation of road bridge decks

Jamtsho, Lungten (2011) Performance load testing and structural adequacy evaluation of road bridge decks. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Many ageing road bridges, particularly timber bridges, require urgent improvement due to the demand imposed by the recent version of the Australian bridge loading code, AS 5100. As traffic volume plays a key role in the decision of budget allocations for bridge refurbishment/ replacement, many bridges in low volume traffic network remain in poor condition with axle load and/ or speed restrictions, thus disadvantaging many rural communities. This thesis examines an economical and environmentally sensible option of incorporating disused flat rail wagons (FRW) in the construction of bridges in low volume, high axle load road network. The constructability, economy and structural adequacy of the FRW road bridge is reported in the thesis with particular focus of a demonstration bridge commissioned in regional Queensland. The demonstration bridge comprises of a reinforced concrete slab (RCS) pavement resting on two FRWs with custom designed connection brackets at regular intervals along the span of the bridge. The FRW-RC bridge deck assembly is supported on elastomeric rubber pads resting on the abutment. As this type of bridge replacement technology is new and its structural design is not covered in the design standards, the in-service structural performance of the FRW bridge subjected to the high axle loadings prescribed in AS 5100 is examined through performance load testing. Both the static and the moving load tests are carried out using a fully laden commonly available three-axle tandem truck. The bridge deck is extensively strain gauged and displacement at several key locations is measured using linear variable displacement transducers (LVDTs). A high speed camera is used in the performance test and the digital image data are analysed using proprietary software to capture the locations of the wheel positions on the bridge span accurately. The wheel location is thus synchronised with the displacement and strain time series to infer the structural response of the FRW bridge. Field test data are used to calibrate a grillage model, developed for further analysis of the FRW bridge to various sets of high axle loads stipulated in the bridge design standard. Bridge behaviour predicted by the grillage model has exemplified that the live load stresses of the FRW bridge is significantly lower than the yield strength of steel and the deflections are well below the serviceability limit state set out in AS 5100. Based on the results reported in this thesis, it is concluded that the disused FRWs are competent to resist high axle loading prescribed in AS 5100 and are a viable alternative structural solution of bridge deck in the context of the low volume road networks.

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ID Code: 46822
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Dhanasekar, Manicka & Bayissa, Wirtu
Keywords: disused flat rail wagons, low volume traffic bridges, bridge decks, performance load testing, grillage method, composite action, serviceability limit states, ultimate limit state high axle loads, structural adequacy
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 03 Nov 2011 02:49
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2011 02:49

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