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Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering

On-line version ISSN 2309-8775
Print version ISSN 1021-2019


OLIVA, J; GOICOLEA, J M; ANTOLIN, P  and  ASTIZ, M. Dynamic behaviour of underspanned suspension road bridges under traffic loads. J. S. Afr. Inst. Civ. Eng. [online]. 2014, vol.56, n.3, pp.77-87. ISSN 2309-8775.

Underspanned suspension bridges are structures with important economical and aesthetic advantages, due to their high structural efficiency. However, road bridges of this typology are still uncommon because of limited knowledge about this structural system. In particular, there remains some uncertainty over the dynamic behaviour of these bridges, due to their extreme lightness. The vibrations produced by vehicles crossing the viaduct are one of the main concerns. In this work, traffic-induced dynamic effects on this kind of viaduct are addressed by means of vehicle-bridge dynamic interaction models. A finite element method is used for the structure, and multibody dynamic models for the vehicles, while interaction is represented by means of the penalty method. Road roughness is included in this model in such a way that the fact that profiles under left and right tyres are different, but not independent, is taken into account. In addition, free software {PRPgenerator) to generate these profiles is presented in this paper. The structural dynamic sensitivity of underspanned suspension bridges was found to be considerable, as well as the dynamic amplification factors and deck accelerations. It was also found that vehicle speed has a relevant influence on the results. In addition, the impact of bridge deformation on vehicle vibration was addressed, and the effect on the comfort of vehicle users was shown to be negligible.

Keywords : underspanned suspension bridges; road roughness; vehicle; bridge dynamic interaction; deck vibrations; penalty method.

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