Comparison of Models for the Design of Portal Frame Bridges with Regard to Restraint Forces
Paper in proceedings, 2017
In the design of concrete bridges an important aspect is limiting crack widths, since large cracks can lead to e.g. corrosion and affect the bridge functionality. Restraint forces caused by thermal loads and shrinkage will likely constitute a large part of the total forces acting on the bridge in crack width design. In this paper, restraint stresses in portal frame bridges are calculated according to Eurocode with simple hand calculation models, 2D frame models and linear elastic 3D FE-models. The results are then compared and used in Eurocode crack width design methods. Large tensile restraint stresses were found in the transverse direction close to the frame corners, and the required reinforcement amount significantly exceeded the minimum reinforcement prescribed by codes. The results are however unrealistic since the thermal load distribution is simplified, and the crack width formula does not take the reduction of restraint stresses due to cracking into account. Future studies shall therefore determine a more realistic thermal load distribution and the effects of cracking, in order to create a more accurate linear elastic 3D FE design method.