You are on page 1of 12

The grillage analogy in bridge analysis

LESLIEG. JAEGER
Techtiical U~liversityof Nova Scorirr, Holifns, N.S.. Cntincl~~
B3J 2x4
AND

Can. J. Civ. Eng. Downloaded from www.nrcresearchpress.com by MCGILL UNIVERSITY on 01/12/15


For personal use only.

BAIDAR
BAKHT
Resenrch n t ~ dDeveloptnerlt Bratlch, Ministry of Tratlsportrrtiotl rirld Cot~~m~rt~icntiot~s,
Dowtlsview, OIII.,Catz~zdaM3M IJ8

Received June 8, 198 1


Revised manuscript accepted January 12, 1982
The grillage analogy method for analyzing bridge superstructures has been in use for quite some time. The idealization of
a bridge by a grillage is not axiomatic and is not without pitfalls. An attempt is made in this paper to provide guidance on
grillage idealization of various types of structure, together with the relevant background information. Specifically, the paper
deals with the idealization of slab, beam-and-slab, cellular, and voided-slab bridges. Idealization of slabs of linearly varying
thickness is also discussed. Guidance is provided on the mesh layout.
Keybi~ords:analysis, beam-and-slab bridges, cellular structures, flexural rigidity, grillage, idealization, load, mesh, slab
bridges, torsional rigidity, voided slab.
La mCthode de l'analogie du grillage pour analyser les superstructures de ponts est dCji utilisCe depuis un assez bon moment.
L'idCalisation d'un pont par un grillage n'est pas Cvidente et ne va pas sans embcches. Le but de I'article est de fournir des
regles ti suivre pour I'Ctablissement de 17idCalisation(ou diagramme thCorique) par le modkle du grillage pour divers types
d'ouvrages, accompagnCes des donnCes de base pertinentes.
Plus prCcisCment, l'article traite I'idCalisation de ponts-dalle, de ponts i poutres et dalles pleines, de ponts cellulaires, et
de ponts i dalle CvidCe. L'article traite Cgalement I'idCalisation des dalles d'Cpaisseur IinCairement variable et fournit des
indications sur la f a ~ o nde choisir un maillage satisfaisant.
Mots clks: analyse, pont i poutres et dalle, pont cellulaire, rigidite flexionnelle, grillage, modClisation, diagramme thiorique,
charge, maillage, pont-dalle, rigidit6 torsionnelle, pont a dalle CvidCe.
Can. J . Civ. Eng.. 9, 224-235 (1982)

Introduction
In recent years two methods have come increasingly
to the fore in the analysis and design of bridges. These
are the grillage analogy and the finite element methods.
This paper deals only with the first of these. In so
doing, no comparison between the two should be taken
to be implied. Both kinds of method have been used
many times in the past by bridge engineers, and both
will undoubtedly continue to be used in the future. At
the present stage in analysis and design of bridges, the
grillage analogy is extensively used and it is probable
that reason (c) given below is at least partially responsible for this popularity. It is undoubtedly true that
finite element methods, which are already supported by
a number of inexpensive and readily available computer
programs, will be increasingly popular in the future.
The grillage analogy method is well supported by the
published literature, among which may be mentioned
papers by Lightfoot (1964); Yettram and Husain
(1965); Sawko (1968a,b); Smyth and Srinavasan
(1973); and Hambly and Pennels (1975).
Reasons for the present popularity of the grillage
analogy method include the following.

(a) The grillage analogy can be used even in cases


where the bridge exhibits complicating features such as
heavy skew, edge stiffening, deep haunches over supports, isolated supports, etc.
(6) The representation of a bridge as a grillage is
ideally suited to carrying out the necessary calculations
associated with analysis and design on a digital
computer.
(c) The grillage representation is conducive to giving
the designer a feel for the structural behavior of the
bridge and the manner in which bridge loadings are
distributed and eventually taken to the supports.
For these kinds of reasons, the grillage analogy tends
to be the preferred method whenever there are aspects
present in a bridge, such as those mentioned in (a)
above, that make it inadvisable to use simplified methods, such as those of the American Association of State
Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
(1977) or the Ontario Highway Bridge Design Code
(OHBDC) (1979). Worthy of note also is the fact that
computer programs for grillage analysis are already
widely available to the designer from a variety of
sources (Firmin et al. 1977; Bakht et al. 1979). Hence

03 15- 14681821020224-I2$0 1.0010

01982 National Research Council of CanaddConseil national de recherches du Canada

225

JAEGER AND BAKHT

Can. J. Civ. Eng. Downloaded from www.nrcresearchpress.com by MCGILL UNIVERSITY on 01/12/15


For personal use only.

/-

A SLAB ELEMENT
FIG.

TORSIONLESS DIAGONALS

PLAN OF EQUIVALENT GRILLAGE

1. Grillage idealization of a slab element.

FIG. 2. Slab idealization by grillages. Plans of: (a) actual slab bridges; (b) idealized grillages accounting for v ; ( c ) idealized
grillages ignoring v.

the method combines two very attractive features: it can


handle bridges of almost any kind and complication,
and the means for digital computer analysis are already
to hand.
One principal step in the method does, nevertheless,
remain for the designer. This is the idealization step of
representing the bridge by a grillage. Such idealization
is not axiomatic and is not without pitfalls. An attempt

is made in this paper to provide guidance on the grillage


idealization of various types of structure, together with
the relevant background information.

Slab bridges
Idealization of structure
A rectangular slab element subjected to loads perpendicular to its plane is equivalent in deformability to an

CAN. J . CIV. ENG. VOL. 9, 1982

Can. J. Civ. Eng. Downloaded from www.nrcresearchpress.com by MCGILL UNIVERSITY on 01/12/15


For personal use only.

8 T kN LOAD A T B

TRANSVERSE STATION POSITIONS O N MID--SPAN LINE

FIG.3. Transverse moments in skew slabs. Experimental -(Rusch and Hcrgenrocdcr 1969); grid analogy --(output
modifled for Poisson's ratio).

assembly of six beams shown in Fig. I (Yettram and


Husain 1965). The properties of the grillage members
are as follows.

-%I

[la]

I,

[L,

[I01

I,

[L. -

J, =

t3

24(1

F]

24(1 - v')

[ELl(~G- 3v)]

t'

34( 1

[ 1(11

J,

[EL,";

v')

3v)1

v')

t3

34(1

v')

In the above, moments of inertia are dcnotecl by I and


torsional inertias by J; E , G, and v are, respectively, the
elastic modulus, shear modulus, and Poisson's ratio of
the material; other notation is as shown in Fig. I. Most
slab bridges can be concept~~ally
divided into a number
of rectangles and each rectangle can then be idealizecl
by the above-mentioned assembly of six beams. Hence
bridges become represented by the type of grillage patterns shown in Fig. 20. While such idealizations can
closely represent the slab, the presence of cliagonaI
inernbers in the idealization renders the analysis unsuitable bcca~iseof the time-consuming data input and difficuIties in the interpretation of results.
The idealization can be made manageable by assuming Poisson's ratio to be zero, thereby eliminating
the need for the torsionless diagonal niernbers. Member
properties of the resulting asseinbly of orthogonal
beams, shown in Fig. 2c, are given by:
[2a]

I,

L,. t3/24

[20]

I,

L, t"24

JAEGER A N D BAKHT

227

Can. J. Civ. Eng. Downloaded from www.nrcresearchpress.com by MCGILL UNIVERSITY on 01/12/15


For personal use only.

curvature along the span is considerably greater than


that in the transverse direction. However, the error in
the prediction of transverse moments can be large in
some cases. The following relationships can be used to
account approximately for errors resulting from the neglect of Poisson's ratio.

F I G . 4. Moments in a cantilcvcr slab: -grillagc analogy; --- from Hombcrg and Ropers (1965).

J , = ( E I C )L, t '124
[2d]
In an assembly of orthogonal bearns, the moment in
a beam depends only upon the curvature of the assembly in the direction of the beam. The corresponding
moment in a slab depends not only upon the curvature
in the direction of the moment but also on the slab
curvature in the perpendicular direction. This slab
action is represented by the following equations for the
moments in the x and y directions, M, and M,. respectively.

The second ternis in the above equations account for tlie


effect of curvature in the direction perpendicular to that
of tlie moment. It can be seen that the effect of curvature in the other direction, which is directly related to
v, would not be picked up by an idealization that
neglects v .
Ignoring Poisson's ratio leads to an underestimation
of monients. This underestimation is usually negligible
for longitudinal moments in concrete slab bridges, in
which the Poisson's ratio is usually about 0.15 and the

In the above. ( M , ) , and (M,),, are the responses obtained


by grillage analysis, for which v is neglected; (M,),,and
(M,), are the relevant moments, corrected for a finite
value of v.
It should be noted that [4] is strictly true only when
deflections are independent of v. Such tends to be the
case when a bridge is wide and the load is away from
the free edges. In other cases [4] will always result in
conservative results. This is shown in Fig. 3, which
shows a comparison of experimentally obtained transverse moments in two skew slabs (Rusch and Hergenroeder 1969) and those obtained by the grillage
analogy using orthogonal beams, and corrected according to [4b] (Bakht 1972). It can be seen that while
corrected values of grillage monients compare very well
with experimental values for the wide slabs, they are
considerably higher in the narrow slab.
Slobs of varying tizickness
The concept of representing a slab of uniform thickness by an orthogonal grillage can also b e extended to
slabs of thickness varying in one direction. The validity
of the grillage analogy method for such a slab is demonstrated in Fig. 4 in which the classical plate solution,
corresponding to zero Poisson's ratio ombe berg and
Ropers 1965), is shown to compare very well with the
grillage analogy solution for a cantilever slab of linearly
varying thickness (Bakht 1981). As in the case of slabs
of uniform thickness, Poisson's ratio is neglected;
hence the idealized grillage consists of orthogonally
connected beams of which those running in the direction of the taper have varying moments of inertia and
torsional inertia, and those along the other direction
have uniform properties along their respective lengths.
At all points the torsional rigidity, G J , of a beam is
taken to be equal to its flexural rigidity, E l . The program for analysing the resulting grillage should be capable of dealing with beams of varying properties. Such
a program is described in the paper by Smyth and
Srinavasan ( 1973). This program is based o n principles
enunciated in the paper b y S a w k o and Wilcock (1967).
ldealizcrtion qf loacls
In the grillage analogy method, loads that on the
actual structures are spread over a finite area, and that
in particular do not fall on nodal points of the grillage,

CAN. J . CIV. ENG. VOL. 9, 1982

Can. J. Civ. Eng. Downloaded from www.nrcresearchpress.com by MCGILL UNIVERSITY on 01/12/15


For personal use only.

EQUIVALENT
CONCENTRATED
LOAD

NODAL

20

18

16

14

FIG. 6. Equivalent s~zcof nodal load.

12

paid to adjusting the size of the load for load representation. However, attention should be paid to the mesh
size in the vicinity of discrete bearings. Usually it will
be found that the mesh size is too fine compared with
the effective size of the bearings (which is obtained by
dispersing the actual area of the bearing at an angle of
45" to the middle surface of the slab). In such cases it
should be appreciated that the predicted moments are
higher than the actual ones.

10

U
C
,"

.
i

0 8

o6

00
4x4

8x8

12~12

16.16

m ~ m

24x24

N O . O F MESHES T O REPRESENT THE SOUARE SLAB

FIG. 5. Effect of mesh on moments under a nodal load.


are eventually represented by point loads at the nodes.
The question then arises as to how to find the best set
of point loads on the grillage, and the best mesh size,
in order that the resulting moments in the grillage agree
with the moments obtained by treating the bridge as an
orthotropic plate and taking the actual area of the applied load into account. Clearly, it would be possible to
use a virtual work approach and develop a method of
deriving the nodal loads. However, an approach that is
sufficiently close for design purposes is shown in Figs.
5 and 6. Bakht (1972) compared the grillage analogy
results of the structure shown in Fig. 5 with the results
obtained by the orthotropic plate theory of Cusens and
Pama (1975). The very good agreement shown in Fig.
5 is obtained when the loading for the orthotropic plate
theory analysis is uniformly distributed over an area
given by one third of the mesh size, as shown in Fig. 6.
It is noted that the two extreme mesh sizes cited in
Fig. 5, i.e., 4 X 4 and 24 x 24, are not realistic. In
practice, mesh sizes would range between 8 X 8 and
12 X 12, thus considerably reducing the differences
between predicted values. With the increase in the number of loads the margin of error is further reduced to
such an extent that, when there are more than eight
concentrated loads on the bridge, no attention need be

Guidance on mesll layout


For idealizing a slab bridge the slab should be divided
into a number of rectangles, as shown in Fig. 2c, and
each rectangle should be represented by four beams
placed around its perimeter. The properties of members
common to two elements should be taken to be equal to
the sum of the respective properties contributed by each
element. There are no hard and fast rules for the number
of divisions in a grillage mesh. However, the following
suggestions are presented as guidance for forming an
idealized grillage.
(a) As far as possible keep the divisions in any direction fairly uniform.
( b ) For bridges supported on discrete bearings place
a longitudinal member along the centre of each bearing.
(c) Place additional longitudinal members to divide
the bridge transversely into eight divisions. For wider
bridges even more divisions may be suitable.
(d) Place transverse members along the centreline of
each bearing.
(e) Place additional transverse members so that the
mesh size in the longitudinal direction is about 1.5-2
times that in the transverse direction.

Beam-and-slab bridges
Idealization
The idealization of a beam-and-slab bridge by an
assembly of interconnected beams seems to conform
more readily to engineering judgement than is the case

JAEGER A N D BAKHT

Can. J. Civ. Eng. Downloaded from www.nrcresearchpress.com by MCGILL UNIVERSITY on 01/12/15


For personal use only.

-4

k12"

SECTION A A

L/b

FIG.7. Effect of flange width on flexural rigidity. NOTES:w = mid-span deflection using full flange width by beam theory;
wr, = mid-span deflection by finite strip method; A = ( w - I V , , ) / W , , ; I" = 25.4 mm.
when the beams are absent, as in simple slab bridges.
The longitudinal members of the grillage are usually
positioned to coincide with the actual girders, and these
longitudinal members are given the properties of the
girders plus associated portions of the slab. which they
represent. The transverse medium, i.e., the deck slab,
is conceptually broken into a number of transverse
strips, and each strip is replaced by a beam. It is advisable to align the transverse grillage beams perpendicularly to the longitudinal beams, in which case the
properties of the transverse members are calculated in
the same way as for slab bridges. For example, the
moment of inertia, I,, of a transverse beam representing
a strip of length L , and thickness t is given by

The torsional inertia, J,., is given by the relationship


G,.J,. = E, I,., which results in

where E, and G, are, respectively, the modulus of elasticity and shear modulus for the material of the deck
slab.
Reduction offle-xural rigidity due to shear lag
For composite structures, the moment of inertia of a

longitudinal grillage member is obtained without taking


account of the fact that the apparent flexural rigidity of
a composite girder is reduced due to shear lag effects in
a slab. Three simply-supported T-beams, all having the
same cross-section as shown in Fig. 7, were analysed
for central loads by the finite strip method (Cheung and
Chan 1979), and the central web deflections thus obtained were compared with those obtained by simple
statics using the full flange width. It is recalled that the
finite strip method, because of the three-dimensional
nature of the idealization, is able to take into account
directly the effects of shear lag.
As can be seen from Fig. 7, the overestimation of the
flexural rigidity of a composite T-beam, caused by the
neglect of shear lag effects in the slab, depends upon the
slab-to-flange width ratio. While this overestimation is
as high as 40% for slab-to-flange width ratios close to
1.0, it is considerably reduced for the sort of dimensions encountered in real-life bridges.
It is noted that small changes in the longitudinal
flexural rigidities do not significantly affect the load
distribution characteristics of a structure. Therefore, it
is usually sufficiently accurate to use the approximate
values of flexural rigidities that are obtained by considering the full slab widths, without taking account of
shear lag. Regardless of the presence or absence of

Can. J. Civ. Eng. Downloaded from www.nrcresearchpress.com by MCGILL UNIVERSITY on 01/12/15


For personal use only.

230

CAN. J . CIV. EING. VOL.

9.

1982

FIG.9. Apportioning of a load to nodes.

FIG.8. Grillage idcalization of a beam and slab bridge: ( ( 1 )


one span of a two-span bridge; ( b ) grillage idcalization by
beams of varying propertlcs; (c) grillagc idealization by
bcams of uniform propertics.
composite action, the torsional inertia of a longitudinal
grillage member, J,, is equal to the sun1 of the torsional
inertia of the girder alone and half the torsional inertia
of the associated portion of the slab. Thus:

where L, is the girder spacing and J , is the girder


torsional inertia in terms of the units' for deck slab
material.
As in slab bridges, the value of v affects the moments
in a beam and slab bridge. Because v is limited to the
deck slab, however, the effect is small and can be
neglected.
Variations in the slab thickness and the girder rigidities can be taken into account by idealizing the respective components as beams of varying moment of
inertia, as shown in Fig. 8h. If a computer program for
analysing grillages with beams of varying properties is
not available, the idealization can be done by using
beams of uniform properties in the manner shown in
Fig. 8c.
Idealization of locirls
When the position of a load does not coincide with a
grillage node, it is usual to apportion it to the sur-

rounding nodes without taking into accoilnt the moments that are associated with the apportioning, as illustrated in Fig. 9. The neglect of these moments in the
longitudinal direction does not give rise to significant
errors. However, their neglect in the transverse direction can result in significant errors, especially when the
actual loads are applied on the cantilever portion of the
slab, or when the spacing between girders is large. If a
computer program is available that is capable of including these moments they should be taken into account. If
the computer program does not have this capability,
then in order to reduce the error resulting from the
neglect of moments in the apportioning of loads it is
advisable to extend the grillage transverse members to
the true boundary of the actual deck slab, and to introduce additional nodes in the transverse beams midway
between the longitudinal beams.
The effect of providing the additional nodes in the
transverse beams is illustrated in Fig. 10, which shows
mid-span girder moments in two grillage idealizations
of a beam-and-slab bridge. In one idealization, the
transverse beams have nodes only at their intersections
with the longitudinal members and, in the other: they
have additional nodes midway between girders. The
latter idealization, which is superior on account of
better load representation, provides results that are up to
9% different from those given by the former.

Cellular bridges
Idealization of cellular bridges, a transverse slice of
one of which is shown in Fig. 11, is in many ways
similar to that for beam-and-slab bridges. Longitudinal
grillage beams are usually placed coincident with webs
of the actual structure, and the transverse medium,
which consists of both the top and bottom flanges, is
represented by equally-spaced transverse grillage
beams. The properties of the longiti~dinalmenlbers are

JAECER A N D BAKHT
LOAD CASE 3
LOAD CASE 2

LOAD CASE 1

Can. J. Civ. Eng. Downloaded from www.nrcresearchpress.com by MCGILL UNIVERSITY on 01/12/15


For personal use only.

-t

ff

LOAD CASE 3

LOAD CASE 2

(1.7) (2.4)
(2.4)
(metresl

(2.4) (1.7)

N O T I O N A L JOINTSTO
BETTER REPRESENT
ACTUAL LOADS

PLAN O F ACTUAL BRIDGE

PLAN O F IDEALIZED GRILLAGE

FIG. 10. Effcct of additional nodes in transversc menlbers. Notcs for graph: -without
bctwcen girders; --- with notional joints in transverse beams between girdcrs.

calculated, as for the beam-and-slab bridges, by ignoring shear lag effects.


Rep,.esentatiotl o f the tratlsverse mecli~on
It is mainly in the representation of the transverse
medium that the application of the grillage analogy to
cellular structures is different from that of beam-andslab bridges. The structural action of the transverse
medium of a cellular structure can be explained with the
help of Fig. 1 1 , which shows the transverse slice of the
structure being subjected to a vertical load at one end
and an equilibrating moment at the other. If the two
flanges and webs are prevented by some nieans from
flexing about their own centroidal axes, then plane sections remain plane and the transverse slice, which de-

notional joints in transversc bcams

forms as shown in Fig. 1 lb, could be likened to the


customary one-dimensional beam, having negligible
shear deformation. The second monient of area of the
equivalent beam is then equal to the second moment of
area of the two flanges about their combined centre of
gravity. However, in cellular structures without frequent transverse diaphragms the flanges and webs do
flex significantly about their individual axes and this
causes the cross-section to distort as shown in Fig. 1 l c .
Plane sections do not remain plane and the flexibility of
the slice increases. This increase in flexibility cannot be
accounted for by reducing the flexural rigidity of the
equivalent beam because the additional detlections of
the slice respond to shear in the slice rather than
moments.

Can. J. Civ. Eng. Downloaded from www.nrcresearchpress.com by MCGILL UNIVERSITY on 01/12/15


For personal use only.

CAN. J . CIV. ENG. VOL. 9, 1982

FIG. 12. Partial cross-section of a cellular structure.

FIG.I I . Transverse deformation of a cellular structure.


Massonnet and Gandolfi (1967) were among the first
to postulate that in cellular bridges the effects of transverse cell distortion could be represented by an equivalent shear area. Sawko (1968a,6) applied this concept
to the grillage analogy and concluded that the transverse
medium of a cellular bridge can be idealized by beams
of finite shear area. Following the notation of Fig. 12,
the moment of inertia, I , , of a transverse grillage beam
representing a length L, of the transverse flanges, in
units of deck slab concrete, is given by:
[8]

I,. = L,(t, hi

+ ~zt~l~:)

where n is the modular ratio of the material of the top


and bottom flanges. When the cellular structure is made
entirely of concrete, rz is equal to 1 .O. The equivalent
shear area, A,., of the transverse grillage beam is given
by:
[9]

12 L, E,
P,. G,

A,. = ---- -

l1I,(12Il I2

+ P , I ,1, + 11Pr121,

shear flows around the perimeter of the closed crosssection. Little shear reaches the intermediate webs and
even less reaches the cantilever slab overhangs. Hence
it is usual to exclude the intermediate webs and the
cantilever overhangs from consideration when calculating the torsional properties. The torsional rigidity of
the bridge is assumed to be uniformly distributed across
both the longitudinal and transverse sections. The total
torsional rigidity of a section is distributed amongst the
various grillage members in proportion to the width that
each member represents. For a longitudinal grillage
member representing a width L,, of the slab, the torsional inertia J , is given by:

where A, is the area enclosed by the median line of the


closed cross-section, as shown in Fig. 13, 2b is the
width of the bridge, and n, is the ratio of shear moduli
for materials of the bottom and top flanges. For allconcrete structures, n, is equal to 1.0; for steelconcrete composite structures, it can be assumed to be
equal to 0.88 times the ratio of the moduli of elasticity,
n. This figure is derived using [ l 11, and assuming that
the values of u for steel and concrete are 0.30 and 0.15,
respectively.
E,
2 ( 1 + v , ) - -(l+v,)Es
G, ["I
2(1+us)
E,
(1 + us) E,

The torsional inertia, J,, of a transverse beam repre4 , , ~ , b ~+, 1 2 21, ~ + n ~ : ~ ; senting length L, of the transverse medium, is given by:
2 ~ :
where E, and G, are as defined earlier and I , ,I,, I3 are [12]
J, = L,
the moments of inertia per unit length of the top flange,
L $ dsl(n, t)
bottom flange, and web, respectively.
where A, is the area enclosed by the median line of the
[4PlI,

Torsiorzal taigidities
Unlike the flexural properties, the torsional properties of grillage members cannot be calculated by isolating certain portions of the bridge and then assigning
their properties to the grillage beams. When the crosssection of a cellular structure is subjected to torsion, the

longitudinal section, as shown in Fig. 13, L is the span,


and other symbols are as defined earlier.
For all concrete cellular structures having top and
bottom flanges of the same thickness, the torsional inertias can be calculated by the following simple expressions, which are based on the assumption that the con-

JAEGER A N D BAKHT
INTERMEDIATE
WEBS IGNORED

MEDIAN

Can. J. Civ. Eng. Downloaded from www.nrcresearchpress.com by MCGILL UNIVERSITY on 01/12/15


For personal use only.

/AREA

A,

MEDIAN
r L l N E

AREA A2

INTERMEDIATE DIAPHRAGMS,
ANY, IGNORED

FIG. 13. Areas considered in the calculation of torsional properties: ( a ) cross-section; (b) longitudinal section.

FIG. 14. Cross-section of a typical voided slab.

tributions of the exterior webs and the end diaphragms


are negligible.
[13a]

J,

L,. t , H'
FIG.

Voided slab bridges


Grillage idealization of a voided slab bridge (see
Figs. 14, 15) is similar to that of solid slab bridges, the
only difference being in the calculation of the properties
of grillage members.
Longitudinal jlexural rigidity
T h e moment of inertia of a longitudinal grillage beam
is equal to the moment of inertia of the section that the
beam represents. For an arrangement in which the
grillage beams coincide with the centrelines of webs,
the moment of inertia, I , , of a beam representing a slab
with concentric voids is given by:
[I41

I,=(~,t'/12)-(.srt:/64)

Transverse ,fle.rural r i g i c i i ~
By contrast with cellular structures, the transverse
rigidity of a voided slab can be significantly affected by

15. Partial cross-section of a voided slab.

the stiffness of the webs. An exact, o r nearly exact,


evaluation of the flexural rigidity of a transverse slice of
a voided slab requires extensive analysis. An approximation, due to Elliott (1975), is as follows:

Bakht et al. (1981 b) show that values of transverse


flexural rigidity, obtained with this formula, compare
very well with those obtained by refined methods such
as the finite element method (Jaeger er al. 1979) and
dynamic relaxation (Cassell et a / . 1970).
Transverse cell distortiorl
Like cellular structures, the transverse section of a
voided slab bridge also undergoes distortion, but to a
much lesser extent. Bakht et al. (198 1 a ) show that the
magnitude of the effect of cell distortion on transverse
load distribution properties of a cellular bridge mainly

C/\N. J. CIV. EN1G. VOL. 9 . 19x2

Can. J. Civ. Eng. Downloaded from www.nrcresearchpress.com by MCGILL UNIVERSITY on 01/12/15


For personal use only.

Equations 14- 17 are applicable only to the voided portions of the bridge. For the solid slab portions, as they
exist over internal supports and near longitudinal free
edges, the properties of the grillage members sliould be
calculated similarly to those of the solid slab bridges.

t'P"

FIG. 16. Cocfficicnts for transverse shear arca.


depends upon the number of loaded lanes. For cases in
which all lanes are loaded, the effects of cell distortion
are negligible. However, when only a few of the total
number of lanes are loaded, the effect may or may not
be significant, depending upon the geometry of the
bridge and details of the cross-section. In general, the
effects are significant in wide bridges having large and
frequently-spaced voids. T o obtain specific answers regarding the significance of cell distortion in a particular
bridge, reference should be made to the simplified
method proposed by Bakht et 01. (198 Irr).
It is sometimes the case that an available grillage
program does not have the capability of including finite
values of shear area in the properties of the beams.
However, when the program does have this capability,
it is prudent always to include the shear area in the
idealization. T h e equivalent shear area, A , , of a transverse grillage beam can be obtained as follows:
[I61

A,. = F,tL,

where F, is a coefficient that depends upon the diameter


and spacing of the voids; F , can be obtained from Fig.
16, which is based on the analytical work of Cassell er
d . (1970).

Torsiorznl rigiclities
An accurate determination of the torsional rigidities
requires complex analysis. The following simplified
equations, which are based on work by Elliott (1975),
provide a fairly accurate estimate of the torsional inertias, as demonstrated by Bakht et n / . (19810).
[17a]

J, = [I

[17b]

J,.

0.84(t,,/t)']L,.t3/6

[ I - 0.84(t,,/t)']L,,t3/6

Comparison with the finite element method


Although the primary purpose of this paper is to give
advice on the best use of the grillage analogy method to
those engineers who have selected it, it is also interesting and ~ ~ s e f utol address briefly the question of
whether one should adopt that method in the first place.
The power and versatility of finite element methods are
by now self-evident and it is, of course, true that any
bridge that can be analysed by the grillage analogy
method can also be analysed by finite elements.
T o some extent the choice is one of individual preference. It is noted that many engineers have a liking for
the grillage analogy method because they find that it
gives them a close feel for the structural action of the
bridge, and because of their opinion that they are in
consequence less likely to overlook gross errors that
may have been included, inadvertently, in the idealization and subsequent analysis. It is also undoubtedly
true that there exist many engineers whose design feel
for a structure is well served by the finite element approach to analysis.
Conclusions
T h e grillage analogy method has been shown to be
suitable for analysing a wide variety of bridges. It has
also been shown that complicating features such as
heavy skew, edge stiffening, deep haunches, isolated
supports, etc., could be conveniently handled by <he
method. Sufficient information on idealization and
preparation of the mesh is provided to enable the
designer to achieve a valid grillage representation of a
bridge even without previous experience in such
analysis.
ASSOCIIITION
OF STATE HIGHWAY
AN11 TRANSAMERICAN
I'ORTATION OFFICIALS. 1977. Standard spccifications for
highway bridgcs. Washington, DC.
BAKHT,B. 1972. A comparative study of thc mcthods of
analysis of slab and pseudo-slab bridges. M.Sc. thesis.
Univcssity of London, London, England.
198 1. Si~nplificdanalysis of cdgc stiffcncd cantilever
slabs. ASCE Journal of thc Structural Division, 107(ST3).
pp. 535-550.
BAKHT,B.. JAEGER,L. G . , and CCIEUNG,
M. S. 1981a.
Simplified analysis of ccllular and voidcd slab bridgcs.
ASCE Journal of the Structural Division. 107(ST9). pp.
1797-1813.
BAKHT.B., CSAGOLY.
P. F., and JAECER,
L. G. 1979. Effect
of computcrs on cconomy of bridgc dcsign. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 6, pp. 432-446.

Can. J. Civ. Eng. Downloaded from www.nrcresearchpress.com by MCGILL UNIVERSITY on 01/12/15


For personal use only.

JAEGER ANI) BAKHT

B A K ~ I TB.,
. JAEGER.L. G . , CHEUNG,M. S.. and MUITI.
A. A. 198IB. The state of the art in analysis ofccllulnr and
voidcd slab bridgcs. Canadian Journal of Civil
Enginccring. 8, pp. 376-391.
CASSELL.A. C.. HOBBS.K. E., and BASU. A. K. 1970.
Properties of voidcd slabs. Unpublished report, Department of Civil Enginccring, Imperial College, University of
London, London. England.
CHEUNG,
M. S . , and CI-IAN,M. Y. T. 1979. Progra~nfor
finite strip analysis. Public Works Canada, Ottawa, Ont.
CUSENS,A. R., and PAMA,R. P. 1975. Bridgc tleck an;ilysis.
John Wilcy and Sons. London.
ELLIOTT.G . 1975. Stiffness parameters: Discussion of papcr
by Kinscy. Highway Enginccring Computer Branch, Department of the Environment Conference on Computerized
Bridgc Design, Bristol, pp. 4/48-4153.
F I R M I NA, , . GILMOR,M. E., and COLLINS,R. A. 1977.
Computcr programs for structural analysis and design, a
Canadian vicw. Canadian Journal of Civil Enginccring, 4.
pp. 72-85.
HAMBLY,E. C . , ;lnd PENNELLS.
E. 1975. Grillage analysis
applied to cellular bridge decks. The Structural Engineer,
53(7), pp. 267-275.
HOMBERG,
H., and ROPERS.W. 1965. Kragplattcn. beidscitigc cinzepanntc Platten Drcifeldplattcn vcrschicdcncr
Stutzwciten. (In German.) Springer Vcrlag, Berlin,
Germany.
JAEGER,L. G . . BAKHT,B., and MUITI, A. A. 1979. The
simplified analysis of cellular structures. Report submitted
to Department of Supply and Services, Ottawa. Ont.
LIGHTFOOT.
E. 1964. A grid kamework analogy for laterally
loaded plates. Journal of the Institution of Mechanical
Seicncc. 6 .

235

MASSONNET,
C . , and GANDOLFI.
A. 1967. Some exceptional
cascs in the theory of multigrade bridges. International
Association Tor Bridgc and Structural Enginccring Publication No. 27. Zurich.
BRIDGEDESIGNCODE. 1979. Ontario
ONTARIO
HIGHWAY
Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Downsvicw. Ont.
R u s c ~ .E. H. H.. and HERGENIIOEDER,
A. 1969. Influence
surfaces for moments in skew slabs. Werner-Verlag.
Dusseldorf, Gcrn~any.
S A W K ~F., 19680. Recent developments in the analysis of
steel bridges using electronic computers. British Constructional Steelwork Association Conference on Stcel Bridges.
London, pp. 1-10.
196811. Box improvement: Discussion on papcr by
D. A. Kcsensky. The Structural Enginccr, 46(7), p. 204.
SAWKO,F.. and WILCOCK,
B. K. 1967. Computcr analysis of
bridgcs having varying scction propcrties. The Structural
Engineer, 45(1 I), pp. 395-399.
SEN. R. 1974. Program for the grillage analysis of slab and
pseudo-slab bridge decks. Highway Enginccring Computcr
BranchjBj9. Department of the Environmcnt, London.
England.
SMYTH,W. J. I < . , and SRINAVASAN,
S . 1973. The analysis of
Gateshead Viaduct. The Structural Enginccr, 5(2), pp.
51-59.
YETTRAM.A. L., and Husi\li\l. M. H. 1965. A Gridframework method for pl;ltcs in flexure. ASCE Journal of
the Engineering Mechanics Division, 91(EM3), pp.
53-64.