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Title: Using Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis for Bridge Evaluation: Challenges and Perspectives

Author(s): Mahdi Ben Ftima, Bruno Massicotte, and David Conciatori

Publication: Web Session



Appears on pages(s):



Date: 3/24/2019

Assessment of existing concrete bridges is a challenging issue for owners. It has greater economic impact when compared to designing new bridges. When using conventional linear analyses, judgment of the engineer is required to understand the behavior of redundant structures beyond reaching the maximum strength of the first element in the structural resistance system. The alternative is to use a predictive tool such as advanced nonlinear finite element to assess the overall structure behavior. The paper presents the methodology for assessing of existing bridges using advanced nonlinear finite element analyses (ANFEA). A general framework defined in previous works, accounting for material uncertainties and concrete model performance, is adapted to the context of the assessment of existing concrete bridges. The overall exercise is viewed as a progressive pushover analysis up to the structure failure where the actual safety index is compared at each event to a target reliability index. The proposed approach follows the philosophy adopted in North-American bridge codes for evaluating existing bridge carrying capacity. The paper illustrates the proposed method and compares it to conventional bridge evaluation methods.