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Evaluation of Live Load Distribution Factors in Integral Bridges Using the Finite Element Method( Vol-3,Issue-4,July 2017 )


Scott Brendler, Yasser Khodair


Girder Distribution factors; Integral Bridges; Steel girders; finite element modeling; vehicular live load.


This paper investigates the adequacy of both AASHTO Standard Specification and AASHTO LRFD girder distribution factors (GDF) for use in the design of integral abutment bridges (IABs). A three-dimensional finite element model (FEM) was developed of an integral bridge to assess its GDFs. Vehicular live loading was applied in one, two, and three lanes in the FEM. The stresses corresponding to each case was utilized to compute the GDFs for each girder. The GDFs obtained from one lane loading were closer to those obtained from the AASHTO LRFD code than to AASHTO standard equation, which was overly conservative in all cases. The AASHTO GDF equations were excessively conservative for multiple lanes. The effect of several parameters such as, the number of piles, girder spacing, and boundary conditions on the GDF ratios was studied. The GDF ratios decreased in accuracy as the girder spacing decreased for one lane loaded. Both AASHTO 1996 and 2012 are more conservative in estimating simply supported bridge GDFs compared to an equivalent IAB.

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