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Engineering Structures 42 (2012) 18

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Behavior of precast prestressed concrete bridge girders involving thermal effects

and initial imperfections during construction

Jong-Han Lee
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA

ar ti cl e in fo a bs tra c t

Article history: The instability of precast prestressed concrete bridge girders during construction have been of particular
Received 10 December 2010 concern to bridge engineers. After they are installed on bearing supports, prestressed concrete girders are
Revised 20 January 2012 immediately subjected to environmental thermal loads that may be exacerbated by fabrication and con-
Accepted 8 April 2012
struction errors. Thus, in this research, the environmental thermal loads, which cause extremes in ther-
mal deformations in precast prestressed concrete girders, were determined. Then a three-dimensional
nonlinear nite element sequential analysis procedure was developed to evaluate the behavior of a pre-
cast prestressed concrete girder subjected to both thermal loads and geometry and support imperfections
Precast prestressed concrete
AASHTO-PCI standard girder
during each construction stage. This analysis indicated instability in a 30-m long prestressed concrete BT-
Thermal effects 1600 girder when total lateral deformation in the middle height of the girder at mid-span exceeded about
Elastomeric bearing 25 cm.
Nonlinear nite element 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction bridge deckDesign

PCI Bridge and diaphragms.
Manual For the initial
[2] provides sweep of
a tolerance in the
3 mmgirder,
per 3the
Since the advent of precast prestressed concrete girders in (1/8 in per 10 ft) of member length. Nevertheless, in practice, this
bridge design and construction, the demand for a more expansive small tolerance value has not been adhered to because of the many
girder span, which would reduce construction costs and improve unexpected conditions that occur during fabrication and handling,
bridge esthetics, has been increasi ng. However, the lengthening as mentioned previously. However, no study that evaluates the lat-
of girders with deeper precast sections and high-strength concrete eral deformation of the girders has been carried out, especially dur-
increases the likelihood that the girders will destabilize. Such fail- ing construction when the girders are subjected to the combined
ure, one of which is illustrated in Fig. 1 , have led to considerable effects of thermal response, initial sweep, and support slope.
apprehension about the behavior of precast prestressed concrete Some relevant initial research was conducted by Mast [3,4],
girders during construction, specically before the addition of the who calculated the stability of a girder suspended from lifting de-
slab and bracing. One investigation into the collapse of the girders, vices and transported on elastic supports. Mast proposed a method
Oesterle et al. [1] indicated that a combination of several factors, based on the ratio of a resisting moment at the support to an over-
including the initial sweep (or lateral deformation), the thermal turning moment induced by the girder sweep and support slope.
sweep, and the support slope, could cause lateral instab ility of The method was adopted in the PCI Bridge Design Manual[2] for
the girders during construction. the evaluation of how safe a girder is from rollover (or overturning)
The initial sweep of the girder occurs during fabrication, ship- during shipping and lifting. However, the manual provided no spe-
ping, and handling. During fabrication, the eccentricity of pre- cic method or guideline that analyzes the lateral stability of the
stressing strands can create an error that leads to unexpected girders placed on elastic bearing supports during construction.
initial sweep in the girder. Then shipping and handling can subject The AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specications [5] and the AASHTO
the girder to unaccounted loads or boundary conditions that also LRFD Bridge Construction Specications [6] simply addressed the
affect the initial sweep. When placed on supports that are not level, importance of considering the safety of precast members during
the girder can also experience sweep. In addition, while pre- all construction stages, but they did not provide any specic guide-
stressed concrete girders are resting on a bearing support, thermal lines related to the stability of precast prestressed concrete girders
environmental effects can produce additional sweep that may con- during construction.
tribute to the instability of the girders prior to the placement of a Thus, as an initial study, this research evaluated the behavior of
a precast prestressed concrete girder subjected to the combined ef-
fects of the initial sweep, the thermal response, and the support
Tel.: +1 404 894 2278; fax: +1 404 894 2201.
slope during construction. For the largest vertical and lateral

0141-0296/$ - see front matter 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
2 J.-H. Lee / Engineering Structures 42 (2012) 18

and the position of the sun. The specic calculation procedures

are outlined in Dufe and Beckman [9].
Variations in the air temperature were calculat ed using the
sinusoidal Kreith and Kreider equation [10]:

1 1
h p i
T air t T max T min T max T min sin t 9 2
2 2 12

in which T air(t) is the air temperature as a function of time t , and

Tmax and Tmin are the daily maximum and minimum air tempera-
tures, respectively. In the calculations, the lengths of the 21st of
March, June, September, and December represented the length of
the days in each season.
With the dened seasonal environmental conditions, a two-
dimensional heat transfer analysis was conducted on four AASH-
TO-PCI standard girder sections: Type-I, Type-IV, Type-V, and
BT-1600 [2]. The heat transfer mechanisms involved in this study
Fig. 1. Stability failure of precast prestressed AASHTO Type-V girders during the are heat irradiation from the sun, heat radiation to the surround-
construction of the Red Mountain Freeway in Arizona [1]. ings, heat convection between the surroundings and the concrete
surface, and heat conduction in the concrete. In the calculation of
heat gain from the sun and heat loss to the surroundings, the value
thermal response, the thermal effects of seasonal variations and of solar absorptivity and surface emissivity of concrete was se-
bridge orientations on vertical and lateral thermal gradients were lected to be 0.50 and 0.85, respectively [11]. The thermal conduc-
evaluated for four AASHTO-PCI standard girder sections in Atlanta, tivity and specic heat of concrete, which denes the heat ow
Georgia. For a 30-m long prestressed BT-1600 girder, which within the body of the concrete girder, were taken as 1.50 W/m K
showed the largest vertical and lateral thermal gradients in the and 1000 J/kg K, respectively, based on a previous study on the
summer and the winter, respectively, the behavior of the girder temperature prediction of concrete pavement [12].
subjected to the thermal response, the initial sweep, and the sup- The inuence of changes in the girder orientations on tempera-
port slope was evaluated using three-dimensional (3D) nonlinear ture distributions was also evaluated for eastwest (EW), south
nite element sequential analysis. north (SN), southwestnortheast (SWNE), and southeast
northwest (SENW) orientations. The largest vertical thermal
2. Determination of thermal loads gradients, calculated from the largest temperature difference
between the highest and lowest temperatures along the depth of
The primary environmental parameters causing temperature the sections, were found in the summer and in the EW orienta-
tion. The largest lateral thermal gradie nts across the middle of
variations in bridges are solar radiation, air temperature, and wind the top ange, the web, and the bottom ange were found in the
speed. These environmental values were determined from 30-year
(from 1961 to 1990) monthly averaged daily solar radiation and EW orientation in the winter because of the greater exposure of
climatic data provided by the National Renewable Energy Labora- the vertical surfaces of the girder to the sun in the EW orientation.
tory [7] for Atlanta. To account for seasonal variations in environ- Among the four sections, the deeper and wider Type-V and BT-
mental conditions, this study chose the daily solar radiation values 1600 sections exhibited larger vertical and lateral thermal gradi-
of 21.9, 29.4, 22.4, and 11.9 MJ/m 2 for March, June, September, and ents. The largest vertical thermal gradients in the summer were
December, respectively. The months of March, June, September, 26 C in the Type-V section and 25 C in the BT-1600 section. The
and December were dened as representative months of the largest lateral thermal gradients of the Type-V and BT-1600
spring, summer, fall, and winter. The daily maximum and mini- sections in the winter were about 20 C in the top ange, 15 C
mum air temperatures for each season were determine d from in the web, and 25 C in the bottom ange. Thus, for the BT-1600
the record maximum temperature and the average daily minimum girder in an EW orientation, the thermal loads in this study were
temperature of the 30-year climatic values, respectively, for the determined from the summer and winter environmental condi-
representative months. The average daily minimum temperature tions in Atlanta.
was used rather than the record daily minimum temperature since
it is highly unlikely that the record maximum and minimum tem-
peratures occurred on the same day. However, since wind speed
was minimal on the days when the largest vertical and lateral ther-
mal gradients occurred, this study neglected the effect of wind
speed on girder temperatures.
The temporal variation in the daily solar radiation was calcu-
lated using the Liu and Jordan equation [8]:

cos w cos ws

I t H a b cos w 1
24 sin ws ws cos ws

in which I(t) is the solar radiation at time t on a horizontal surface, H

the total daily solar radiation, w the solar hour angle, and ws the
sunrise hour angle; a = 0.409 + 0.5016 sin(ws 1.047), and
b = 0.66090.4767 sin(ws 1.047). For other inclined surfaces of
the girder, irradiation was estimated according to the location and
orientation of the girder, the geometry and shadow of the girder, Fig. 2. Arrangement of the prestressing strands in the BT-1600.
J.-H. Lee / Engineering Structures 42 (2012) 18 3

3. 3D nonlinear nite element thermal response analysis With the dened geometry of the bearing pad, the compressive
modulus of bearing pad was calculated using the stress and strain
3.1. 3D nite element model curve given in the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specications [5].
Since elastomeric bearings become stiffer as strain increases, the
Based on the preliminary design referen ce given in the PCI stiffness of the vertical bearings was dened as a bi-linear relation-
Bridge Design Manual [2], the BT-1600 girder was designed to be ship with one inection point at 0.028 compressive strain. That is,
30 m long with a concrete compressive strength of 48 MPa, girder the compressive modulus of the elastomeric bearing pad, Es, is ini-
spacing of 1.8 m, and 24 low relaxation strands of 12.7 mm in tially 148 MPa up to 0.028 compressive strain, and thereafter in-
diameter. As shown in Fig. 2 , four strands were placed in the top creases to 230 MPa. The vertical stiffness of bearing pad, k, was
ange and twenty strands in the bottom ange. The strands placed then derived as follows:
in the top and bottom anges were each prestressed to 44.5 kN and
Es A
150.4 kN, respectively. k 3
The 30-m long BT-1600 girder was modeled with a total of H
350,400 linear solid elements of approximately 2.5 cm by 2.5 cm in which A is the area of the bearing pad and H the thickness of the
with 5 cm in the longitudinal direction of the girder per element bearing.
in the nite element program Abaqus [13]. The prestressing The vertical bearing stiffness was modeled using a series of non-
strands were modeled using 3D two-node truss elements and de- linear spring elements, which provide restraint only when com-
ned as embedded elements in the solid concrete elements. The pressed. The compressive stiffness of individual springs was
embedded element technique used in this study constrains the calculated using the tributary area of the springs categorized as
translational degrees of freedom of the embedded elements to corner, edge, and center spring elements according to the location
the interpolated values of the corresponding degrees of freedom of the springs within the bearing surface. Fig. 3 shows the force and
of the host solid elements. displacement relationship dened from the calculated compressive
The modulus of elasticity of the concrete used in this study was stiffness, in which k1 represents compressive strain up to 0.028 and
calculated to be 28,500 MPa using the ACI Committee 435 [14] for k2 represents that greater than 0.028. The vertical spring elements
high-strength concrete. Since the maximum tensile stress of con- used to model the bearing pads are illustrated in Fig. 4. The arrows
crete due to thermal effects
p did not exceed the allowable tensile shown in this gure represent the restrained directions at the both
stress of concrete, 0:63 fci, in which fci represents the compressive ends due to the dowel bars located in the middle of the pad.
strength of concrete, the concrete materials used in this thermal
response analysis were modeled to be linear elastic. The coefcient
3.3. Thermal responses
of thermal expansion pertaining to the thermal movement of the
girder was taken as 10.8 10 6/C [5].

The 3D nonlinear nite element thermal response analysis is

The material properties of the 12.7 mm diameter strands were
composed of a static analysis and its subsequent nonlinear thermal
those listed in the PCI Bridge Design Manua . lThe desig n yield
stress analysis. First, the 3D static analysis is performed to intro-
strength of the strands was 1689 MPa. After the yielding of the
duce camber and stresses induced by prestressing forces to the gir-
strands, or 0.0086
was dened yield strain,
to be perfectly the stress
plastic. and strain
The coefcient ofrelationship
the thermal der. The prestressing forces were dened as the initial stress
conditions and applied uniformly along the strand. The values of
expansion of the strands was dened to be the same as that of
the initial stresses, assigned to the top and bottom strands, were
the concrete.
482 MPa and 1578 MPa, respectively, calculated by dividing the
prestressing forces by a nominal area of the strand. The support
boundary condition in this analysis was dened as a simply sup-
3.2. Support conditions
ported condition at the location of the dowel bars. The camber
and stresses obtained from the rst static analysis provide the ini-
Precast prestressed concrete bridge girders are generally sup-
tial conditions for the start of the subsequent thermal stress anal-
ported by steel-reinforced elastomeric bearing pads that provide
ysis. Then the 3D thermal stress analys is employed the girder
vertical support in compression and minimum horizontal resis-
temperatures obtained from heat transfer analysis as sequential
tance to the girder due to friction. According to a recent study on
thermal loads to determine the thermal response of the girder.
the elastomeric bearing stiffness of standard precast prestressed
Since the heat transfer analysis is carried out on a 2D cross-section
concrete girders [15], the vertical stiffne ss calculated from the
of the girder, the temperature distributions are transferred to the
AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specication [5]s provided good agree-
ment with that obtained from the nite element analysis. This
study also recommended that the effects of the horizontal bearing
restraint be ignored in the design of AASHTO precast concrete
bridge girders. Thus, the vertical stiffness of the bearing pad was
evaluated using the AASHTO specications. This analysis assumed
that the horizontal stiffness of the bearing pad was zero, but in-
cluded the lateral resistance to the girder, provided by the dowel
bar in the middle of the pad.
The size of the bearing pad for the BT-1600 girder, based on the
Georgia Department of Transportation manual [16], was deter-
mined to be 25 cm long and 50 cm wide. A 7.5 cm diameter hole
in the middle of the pad was also designed for the dowel bar.
The hole of the bearing pad at the other end of the girder was slot-
ted so that the girder could expand longitudinally. Thus, the dowel
bar, located in the middle of the bearing pad, was modeled with
both lateral and longitudinal restraints at the one end and only a
lateral restraint at the other end. Fig. 3. Relationship between the force and displacement of the spring element.
4 J.-H. Lee / Engineering Structures 42 (2012) 18

(a) One end of the girder (b) Other end of the girder
Fig. 4. Finite element model with spring elements for elastomeric bearing pads and restrained conditions for dowel bars.

3D nite element model with a constant temperature variation

along the length of the girder. The support conditions involved in
this analysis were dened to be elastomeric bearing pad conditions
shown in Fig. 4 . For the purpose of comparison, the analysis in-
cluded boundary conditions that dened the bearing pads as rigid
vertical restraints. The detailed process of the 3D nite element
thermal response analysis is given in the owchart shown in Fig. 5.
Fig. 6 shows variations in the vertical and lateral thermal move-
ments at the mid-span of the 30-m long prestressed BT-1600 gir-
der obtained from the 3D thermal response analysis of the
summer and winter environmental conditions in Atlanta. The ini-
tial vertical camber induced by the prestressing strands was
3.28 cm, and it decreased to 0.81 cm due to the self-weight of
the girder. The environmental thermal loads increased the vertical
displacement to 2.67 cm at 3 p.m. in the summer and 1.91 cm at
2 p.m. in the winter under elastomeric bearing pad conditions.
Thus, the total vertical thermal movement was 1.86 cm in the sum-
mer and 1.10 cm in the winter. In the rigid support conditions, the
total vertical thermal movement was 1.07 cm in the summer and
0.46 cm in the winter. In contrast to the vertical thermal move-
ment, lateral thermal movement at mid-span was greater in the
winter due to larger lateral thermal gradients. The lateral thermal
movement was 1.02 cm in the summer and 1.96 cm in the winter.
The support conditions of the elastomeric bearing pads did not af-
fect the lateral thermal movements, and the differences in the lat-
eral movements along the depth of the girder were minimal.
Fig. 5. Flowchart of the 3D nite element thermal response analysis.
Nonlinear thermal strains induced by environmental thermal
loads cause self-equilibrium stresses in the girder due to the strain
difference between the nonlinear thermal strains and the nal

Fig. 6. Variations in the vertical and lateral thermal movements at the mid-span of the 30-m long prestressed BT-1600 girder under elastomeric bearing pad conditions in the
summer and the winter in Atlanta.
J.-H. Lee / Engineering Structures 42 (2012) 18 5

linear strains. The BT-1600 girder initially exhibited longitudinal Similarly, lateral thermal movement was calculated using the
compressive stresses of 5723 kPa on the top surface and lateral thermal gradients over the cross-section. However, the lat-
7584 kPa on the bottom surface at mid-span due to prestressing eral thermal gradients vary from the top to the bottom anges, so
forces and self-weight. In the summer, when the largest vertical the lateral curvature of the girder, u x, was obtained from three lat-
thermal gradients occurred, the concrete longitudinal compressive eral thermal gradients in the middle of the top ange, the web, and
stresses increased to 7791 kPa (by 36%) on the top surface and the bottom ange:
9170 kPa (by 21%) on the bottom surface. In the winter, the com- X R E a
pressive stresses on the top and bottom surfaces only slightly DT x hx xdx
ux 6
changed due to the smallest vertical thermal gradients. However, E Iy
the middle of the web showed higher longitudinal compressive
stresses due to larger thermal gradients in the web in the winter. in which DT( x) is the lateral thermal gradient at width x , h( x) the
The tensile stresses of the top and bottom strands only slightly depth of the girder, Iy the moment of inertia of the cross-section
changed (increased by less than 41 MPa) due to environmental with respect to the weak y-axis, and i (=1,2,3) the lateral thermal
thermal effects. gradients of the top ange, the web, and the bottom ange of the
girder, respectively.
4. Beam model for the calculation of thermal deformations
4.2. Comparison of the beam model with the 3D nite element analysis
4.1. Development of the beam model
For the BT-1600 girder, which showed the largest vertical and
Thermal strain distributions induced by environmental thermal lateral thermal gradients among the four AASHTO-PCI standard
effects are nonlinear. Because of the nonlinear thermal gradients in girder sections, this study calculated the vertical and lateral
the girders, their thermal movements are basically calculated using thermal movements in the summer and winter environmental
3D numerical analysis. Thus, based on beam theory, this study de- conditions in Atlanta using the proposed model. The length of
rived an analytical method that could calculate the vertical and the BT-1600 girder was 30 m, and the material properties of con-
thermal deformations from the nonlinear thermal gradients. crete were the same as used previously.
Fig. 7 illustrates vertical strain distributions along the depth of a The vertical and lateral thermal movements calculated using
prestressed concrete girder section caused by a nonlinear vertical the beam model were compared with those obtaine d from the
thermal gradient. The unrestrained plane section tends to expand 3D nite element thermal stress analysis for simply supported
in accordance with the vertical thermal gradient shown in boundary conditions. Fig. 8 shows that the thermal movements
Fig. 7 b. However, according to the NavierBernoulli hypothesis, calculated from the beam model correlate well with those obtained
the nal strain prole is linear, illustrated in Fig. 7 c. Thus, the ver- from the 3D nite element analysis. Differences between the max-
tical thermal deformation can be obtained by integrating the cur- imum vertical and lateral thermal movements of the beam model
vature, uy, over the length of the girder. For a simple span, the and those of the 3D nite element analysis were less than 0.08 cm
vertical deformation at mid-span, d y, is (5.3%).

uy L2 4.3. Equations for calculating maximum thermal movements in

dy 4
AASHTO-PCI standard girders
in which L is the length of the girder. The curvature of the girder can
be calculated using the following equation: The beam model was further used to propose simple equations
R E a that are capable of calculating the vertical and lateral thermal
DT y wy ydy
u 5 movements with the design span of precast prestressed concrete
E Ix
bridge girders. For the four AASHTO-PCI standard girder sections,
in which DT( y) is the vertical thermal gradient at depth y, w( y) the Type-I, Type-IV, Type-V, and BT-1600 sections,Table 1 summarizes
width of the section, Ethe concrete modulus of elasticity, a the coef- the equations in terms of the span length of the girder. The equa-
cient of thermal expansion of concrete, and Ix the moment of iner- tions can be used to calculate the maximum vertical and lateral
tia of the cross-section with respect to the strong x-axis. thermal movements of the girders located in Atlanta. The thermal

(a) Cross-section (b) Thermal strain (c) Final strain

Fig. 7. Strain distributions induced by a nonlinear vertical thermal gradient in a simply supported prestressed concrete girder section.
6 J.-H. Lee / Engineering Structures 42 (2012) 18

Fig. 8. Comparisons of the vertical and lateral thermal movements calculated using the beam model with those obtained from the 3D nite element analysis.

Table 1
Maximum vertical and lateral thermal movements of the four AASHTO-PCI standard girder sections in the summer and the winter (Units: 2.73 10

AASHTO-PCI standard sections Max. vertical movement Max. lateral movement a Max. span (m) [2]
Summer Winter Summer Winter
Type-I 117 L2 71L2 53L2 63L2 15
Type-IV 39 L2 23L2 123L2 153L2 37
Type-V 59 L2 26L2 40L2 82L2 44
BT-1600 55 L2 20L2 40L2 83L2 40
L is the span of the girder in meters.

loads were based on summer and winter environmental conditions

that yield the largest vertical and lateral thermal movements,
Since the behavior of the girders mainly depends on the mo-
ment of inertia of the cross-section, the Type-I section, which has
the smallest moment of inertia with respect to the strong x-axis,
has the largest vertical thermal movement. For a Type-I girder de-
signed to be a maximum span of 15 m, the maximum vertical ther-
mal movement was calculated to be 0.71 cm in the summer in
Atlanta. The largest lateral thermal movements occurred in the
Type-V and BT-1600 sections, which have the largest lateral ther-
mal gradients and a small amount of moment of inertia with re-
spect to the weak y-axis.

5. Behavior of a precast prestressed concrete girder involving

thermal effects with geometry and support imperfections

5.1. 3D nonlinear nite element sequential analysis procedure

The environmental thermal effects are combined with fabrica-

tion and construction errors to affect the behavior of precast pre-
stressed concrete girders during construction, especially prior to
the placement of cross bracing and the deck slab. This study found
that the main imperfection was initial lateral deformation in the
girder at mid-span and the bearing slope in the lateral direction.
To analyze the combined effects of the initial sweep, the bearing
support slope, and thermal loads on the prestressed concrete gir-
der, a 3D nonlinear nite element sequential analysis procedure
was developed which could update the geometry and stresses of
the girder during each construction state. The owchart of the
sequential analysis procedure is depicted in Fig. 9 .
The rst static analysis shown in Fig. 9 was performed to gener-
ate the sweep in the girder and camber and stresses due to pre-
Fig. 9. Flowchart of the 3D nonlinear nite element sequential analysis.
stressing forces. As mentioned previously, the camber and
stresses are obtained from prestressing forces, dened as the initial
stress conditions. The shape of the initial sweep, dened in the rst with the self-weight of the girder applying to the lateral direction.
static analysis, is obtained from another previous static analysis The magnitude of the initial sweep is specied by scaling the
J.-H. Lee / Engineering Structures 42 (2012) 18 7

maximum lateral deformation obtained from the static analysis to The initial evaluation of the support slope on the behavior of the
a target sweep value. Since the sweep and the camber occur prior prestressed BT-1600 girder was conducted with no initial sweep.
to the placement of the girder on the bearing supports, the support The support slopes chosen for this study were 0 , 2.5 , and 5 .
boundary condition in this rst static analysis was assumed to be a The angle of 0 represents a perfectly at condition between the
simply supported condition. girder and the supports. The maximum value of the support slope
The initial sweep in the girder and the camber and stresses in- of 5 was chosen based on the maximum measured support slope
duced by prestressing forces are employed to update the geometry of 0.0079 rad. (4.5 ) on the collapsed girders in Arizona [1].
and stress states of the girder for the next analysis. Then the slope For a support slope of 5 at both ends of the girder, this study
of the bearing support is produced by applying displacement examined the vertical and lateral responses of the prestressed
boundary conditions corresponding to the support slope to the up- BT-1600 girder with increases in initial sweep at 3, 6, 9, 11, and
graded 3D nite element model. Since the support slope is a stress- 13 cm. The initial sweep of 3 cm was the sweep tolerance of
free behavior, the stress states in the concrete and prestressing 3 mm per 3 m length of prestressed concrete beam provided in
strands are the same as those dened in the rst static analysis. the PCI Bridge Design Manual [2].
Finally, the prestressed concrete girder updated from the previ-
ous analysesthe rst static analysis for the initial sweep of the 5.3. Vertical behavior of the prestressed concrete girder
girder and the effects of prestressing forces and the second static
analysis for the support slope of the girderprovides a reference
For the geometrically perfect structure, or the 30-m long BT-
conguration of the next 3D nonlinear nite element analysis. 1600 girder with no initial sweep, Fig. 10 a shows variations in
The self-weight of the girder and the thermal loads obtained from the vertical movements due to thermal loads and self-weight for
the 2D heat transfer analysis are applied to assess the behavior of
the support slope of 0 , 2.5 , and 5 . Fig. 10b shows the variations
the prestressed concrete girder during construction. This analysis
in the vertical movements of the girder with increases in the initial
accounted for the nonlinearity of the geometry and the nonlinear sweep from 3 cm to 13 cm with a constant 5 support slope. From
behavior of the elastomeric bearing pads. Fig. 10, we can see that the girder, after being installed on the bear-
ing supports, underwent slight increases in vertical movement
5.2. Structural analyses with the support slope and the initial sweep
with increases in the support slope or the initial sweep. In partic-
ular, for the initial sweep of 11 and 13 cm, the 3D nonlinear nite
Since the stability of prestressed concrete girders during con- element analysis stopped at 2 p.m. and at 10 a.m., respectively, as
struction mainly depends on their lateral behavior, the thermal shown in Fig. 10b. The failure of this numerical analysis was due
load involved in this 3D sequential nonlinear analysis was based to the larger increases in lateral movements with increases in the
on the winter environmental conditions showing the largest lateral initial sweep in the sloped girder. The lateral behavior of the girder
thermal gradients in Atlanta. Among the four AASHTO-PCI sections, with increases in the initial sweep and support slope will be dis-
this study selected the 30-m long prestressed BT-1600 girder. cussed below.

Fig. 10. Variations in the vertical movements of the 30-m long BT-1600 girder at Fig. 11. Variations in the lateral movements at the mid-height of the 30-m long BT-
mid-span with increases in (a) support slope with no initial sweep and (b) initial 1600 girder web at mid-span with increases in (a) support slope with no initial
sweep for a 5 support slope. sweep and (b) initial sweep for a 5 support slope.
8 J.-H. Lee / Engineering Structures 42 (2012) 18

5.4. Lateral behavior of the prestressed concrete girder In the following analysis, to combine thermal effects with fabri-
cation and construction errors, this study developed a 3D nite ele-
For the lateral behavior of the 30-m long prestressed BT-1600 ment sequential nonlinear analysis procedure that accounted for
girder during construction, Fig. 11 exhibit variations in the lateral the changes in the geometry and stress states of the girder. This
movements at the middle height of the girder web with increases analysis included the nonlinear behavior of the girder and the elas-
in the support slope and the initial sweep. Increases in the support tomeric bearing pads. The analyses indicated possible instability in
slope with no initial sweep, illustrated in Fig. 11 a, only slightly the 30-m BT-1600 girder when lateral deformations due to the
changed the lateral deformations due to the combination of ther- combination of thermal effects, the initial sweep, and the support
mal effects and self-weight, as was found in the vertical behavior slope exceeded about 25 cm at the middle height of the girder,
of the girder. However, with increases in the initial sweep for a close to the centroid of the girder cross-section.
constant support slope of 5 , Fig. 11 b reveals increases in the lat- In addition, this study proposed a beam model to calculate envi-
eral movements at the middle height of the web at mid-span. For ronmentally-induced vertical and lateral thermal deformations for
the 30-m long prestressed BT-1600 girder with an initial sweep simply supported girders. The vertical deformation is based on a
of 11 and 13 cm, the lateral movements were about 12 cm imme- vertical thermal gradient along the depth of the cross-section,
diately after the girder was installed on the sloped bearing support. and because the lateral thermal gradients vary from the top to
The combined thermal effects then increased the lateral move- the bottom anges, the lateral deformation is dened from three
ments, including the initial sweep of 11 cm and 13 cm, to lateral temperature gradients of the middle of the top ange, the
25.7 cm at 1 p.m. and 25.9 cm at 9 a.m., respectively, at the middle web, and the bottom ange. A comparison showed that the vertical
height of the girder web at mid-span, shown in Fig. 11b. After that, and lateral movements of the beam were within 0.08 cm (6%) of
as mentioned previously, the 3D nite element analyses halted due those determined by the 3D nite element analysis. Furthermore,
to error messages of largest increment of displacement in the lat- this study proposed simple equations for calculating the maximum
eral direction at the top ange of the girde r at mid-span and vertical and lateral thermal movements in terms of the span length
excessive distortion in solid concrete elements . According to of the girders for simply supported four AASHTO-PCI standard
the messages, the failure of this numerical solution to converge girders located in Atlanta: Type-I, Type-IV, Type-V, and BT-1600
is an indication of instability in the structure due to the large in- girders.
crease in lateral deformations. To provide more generalized conclusions on the lateral behavior
of precast prestressed concrete girders, including the initial sweep
and the support slope during conduction, the development of the
6. Conclusions and discussions 3D and simplied models should include more girders under vari-
ous environmental conditions.
Using the 3D nonlinear nite element analysis, this initial study
evaluated the behavior of a precast prestressed concrete bridge gir- References
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showed stiffness ofinthe
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