Investigation of thermal gradient effects in the I-35W St. Anthony falls bridge

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Abstract

Abstract Thermal gradients were measured through the section of the I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge, a posttensioned concrete box girder bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, over the course of 3 years. The magnitudes and shapes of the measured thermal gradients were compared with various design gradients, and a fifth-order curve was found to best approximate the shape of the gradients. The responses of the structure to the largest measured thermal gradients were compared with stresses and deformations predicted by finite-element modeling given applied design gradients. The measured structural response was found to be best predicted when the finite-element model of the bridge was subjected to a fifth-order design thermal gradient scaled to match maximum top surface temperature values proposed by AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications for the region. Stresses and deformations predicted by finite-element modeling using the AASHTO LRFD bilinear design gradients were found to be considerably lower than those derived from measured results. Recommendations for design thermal gradients are proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)890-900
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Bridge Engineering
Volume18
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013

Keywords

  • Bridges, box girder
  • Finite-element method
  • Monitoring
  • Temperature effects

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