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Chapter 11

Diaphragms and Cross Frames

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Introduction –Functions of diaphragms and cross frames

„ Used to resist lateral wind loads by

transferring them from the
superstructure up into the deck
„ Large stiffness of the deck in horizontal
plane will carry the loads to the supports
„ At the supports, the diaphragms or cross
frames transfer the loads down from the
deck to bearings

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Introduction –Functions of diaphragms and cross frames

„ They also improve vertical loads

distribution to longitudinal members
„ If closely spaced and placed at supports,
they transfer live loads more uniformly
„ They create lateral stability during

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Different types of bracings and diaphragms

„ Cross frames
„ X type
„ K type
„ Non-composite diaphragms
„ Composite diaphragms
„ Top chord bracing
„ Distortional bracing Steel box girder

„ Tie, etc.

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Different types of bracings and diaphragms

„ Bracings to reduce distortion and

„ Ties
„ Distortional bracing
„ Torsion box
„ Top chord bracing
„ End diaphragms

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Different types of bracings and diaphragms

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Different types of bracings and diaphragms

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Design considerations
„ Intermediate ones
„ Carry proportional to tributary area
„ End ones
„ Carry all accumulated loads to the bearings
„ Do not use too many
„ Code practice, more or less arbitrary

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Beam-and-Slab Bridges
„ Improve load distribution charactersitics
„ Characterizing parameters of such bridges
( Dxy + D yx + D1 + D2 )
2( Dx D y ) 0.5
b ⎛⎜ Dx ⎞⎟
θ= ⎜ ⎟
L ⎝ Dy ⎠
„ Minimum 2 diaphragms or bracings per
span near to one third of the span, or
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Beam-and-Slab Bridges
„ Minimum 3, placed at quarter and mid span
„ Reduced form of α is valid for characterizing
load distributions in beam and slab bridges
( Dxy + D yx )
2( Dx D y ) 0.5
D y =(total flexural rigidity of deck plus
„ In calculating α ignore the torsional rigidity of
the diaphragms
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Beam-and-Slab Bridges
„ Recommended design procedure
„ Use (α , θ ) method for slab-on-girder bridges, if
there min. 2 diaphragms per span, or 3 spans
per span
„ Calculate α as follows:

(D +D )
xy yx

2(D D )0.5
x y

„ D y =(total flexural rigidity of deck plus


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Beam-and-Slab Bridges
„ If plate type diaphragms, obtain effective
flexural rigidity by considering diaphragm
bending about its neutral axis
„ If cross-bracings, calculate effective moment
of inertia as follows
Ad s 3 h 2
I effective =
6 L3d
„ Ad is the cross-sectional are of diagonal members

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„ is the length of diagonal
Ld = s + h members
2 2

„ s is the spacing of the longitudinal girders

„ h is the depth of the cross bracing
„ Relate diaphragm size to optimum value of θ
„ No need for heavy diaphragms to achieve
optimum transverse load distribution.

Ad h

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Steel Box Girder Bridge
„ Bracings and diaphragms are to resist
wind and construction loads and
maintain stability
„ Stresses due to bending and torsion as
a result of eccentric live loads are:
„ Bending stress
„ Mixed torsion stress
„ Bending distortion stress
„ Torsional distortion stress

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Steel Box Girder Bridge

„ Bracing systems
„ Ties
„ Distortional bracings
„ Torsion Box
„ Top chord bracings
„ End Diaphragms

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Steel Box Girder Bridge
P Pc Pc Pt Pt

Loading C om ponents

Pc Pc

Longitudinal bending Bending distorsion

Pt Pt
M ixed torsion Torsional distorsion

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Steel Box Girder Bridge
„ Recommendations for design
1) Distortion during construction
„ Place ties at top flanges every 1/8 length
of the span (overcome distortion from
concentric construction loads)
„ Place transverse web stiffeners that
increase transverse web stiffness at least
50 times (overcome distortion due to
construction twist loads)

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Steel Box Girder Bridge
„ Horizontal bracing shall be placed below
the level of top flanges
„ Inter-connecting bracings shall be mounted
between boxes. These bracing systems
shall be placed at the same sections as the
interior distortional bracings

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Steel Box Girder Bridge
2) Overall Stability during construction
„ If < 0.15 , where M 0 is the mid-span
M cr

bending moment and M cr is the cracking

„ Use linear analysis with St. Venant and warping
stiffness to compute girder rotations
„ For higher loads,
„ Calculate real rotations and warping stiffness
considering non-linear effects

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CHBDC requirements
„ 1) General requirements
„ 5.4.6. (p 170)
„ A 5.1 d (p 202)
„ 2) Concrete
„ 8.18.5 Diaphragms (p 367)
„ 8.20.8 Concrete girder (p 371)
„ 8.22.3 Segmental construction (p 372)

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CHBDC requirements
„ 3) Steel
„ 10.10.9 (p 462) lateral bracing, cross –frames and
„ and,
„ Load distribution & stability
„ 10.10.9 Composite beams and girders (p 462) load
distribution and stability
„ 10.12.6 Composite box girders (p 473)
„ 10.13.5 Horizontally curved girders (p 474)
„ 10.14.3 Trusses (p 480)
„ 10.16.5 Orthotropic Decks (p 482)

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Specific requirements

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CHBDC Specifications
„ End floor beams and end diaphragms under
expansion joints that are exposed to surface
runoff should be easily maintainable
„ Floor beams and diaphragms at piers and
abutments to be designed to allow jacking of
the superstructure, unless longitudinal
members can be jacked directly.

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CHBDC- Beams, Girders and Composite Beams

„ Spacing of intermediate diaphragms or

„ Lateral torsional buckling resistance of girders
„ Need for transfer of lateral wind load
„ Need for torsional resistance due to torsion
„ Design for lateral load + 1% of compression
flange force, if girder not solely for lateral loads
„ If considered in analysis, design for their share
of load

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CHBDC- Beams, Girders and Composite Beams

„ The bracing should be stable under the

compression force that it receives from the
compression flange
„ Steel or concrete slab, if attached sufficiently to
compression flange will suffice
„ Place perpendicular to main girder, when supports
are skewed more than 20 0 and design to the force
they attract
„ Unless otherwise justified by analysis, girder spans
in excess of 50 m shall be provided with lateral
bracing at or close to bottom flanges

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CHBDC- Beams, Girders and Composite Beams

„ Use cross-frames and diaphragms at piers or

abutments of beam or girder bridges
„ Use cross-frames as deep as practical
„ Where practical, diaphragms shall support the
end of the deck slab.

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CHBDC- Composite Box Girders

„ Internal diaphragms, cross-frames or other

means, at supports to resist transverse rotation,
displacements and distortion and transfer
vertical, transverse and torsional loads to the
„ Consider the effect of access holes and provide
adequate reinforcement
„ Intermediate cross-frames and diaphragms to
be used during fabrication, transportation and

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CHBDC- Composite Box Girders

„ Vertical stiffeners used as connecting plates for

diaphragms or cross-frames shall be connected
to both flanges
„ Single box girder, place diaphragms and cross-
frames every 8 m unless shown cross-sectional
distortion is not critical
„ For multiple open box girders, the bracing of
top flanges of the boxes should be provided
„ Put lateral bracing at top flange of single,
through box section girders.

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CHBDC- Composite Box Girders

„ Design the bracings for shear flow before

concrete is cured. Also consider bending forces.
„ The structural section assumed to resist the
portion of factored horizontal wind or seismic
loading in the plane of bottom flange shall
consist of the bottom flange acting as the web
and 12 times the thickness of the webs acting
as the flanges.

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Horizontally curved girders
„ Unless otherwise approved, the girders shall be
connected at each support by diaphragms to resist
twisting of the girders
„ Place diaphragms or cross-frames on I girders between
supports to resist twisting. Extend them across the whole
width of the bridge.
„ Place diaphragms or cross-frames between box girders
to resist torsion. Place them inside box girders in line
with those in between girders.
„ Treat them as main elements. They shall be as deep as
the girders and shall carry all the load they attract.

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Horizontally curved girders
„ In addition, place extra diaphragms or cross-
frames to resist the distortional effects of
eccentric loads on the cross-section.
„ Lateral bracing for construction, wind and
service load shall be placed on top flange of I
girders or box girders.

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„ Through-truss, deck-truss shall have top and
bottom lateral bracing systems.
„ If shallower than the chord, the bracing needs
„ Connect the bracings to top and bottom chords
„ For through trusses, have portal bracing rigidly
connected to the end post and top chord

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„ For through trusses, portal bracings should
take the full reaction of the top chords, and
end posts should be designed accordingly.
„ For through trusses, sway bracings shall be
installed at necessary points.
„ For deck trusses, install sway bracing at the
plane of end posts.
„ For deck trusses, install sway bracing at
intermediate panel points, unless analysis
shows unnecessary.

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„ For deck trusses, the sway bracing shall have
the full depth of the truss below the floor.
„ For deck trusses, the end sway bracing shall
carry the entire upper lateral forces to the
supports through the end posts.
„ Bracings between straight compression
members or flanges shall carry the shear force
due to lateral loads plus 1% of the compression
forces in the supported members.

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„ Factored compressive resistance of the column
shall be at least equal to the maximum force in
any panel of the top chord resulting from loads
at the ULS.
„ Vertical truss members, floor beams, and
connections between them shall not carry less
than (ULS) 8 kN/m lateral force applied at the
top chord panel points.

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Orthotropic Decks

„ Place diaphragms or cross-frames at each

support, sufficient to transmit lateral forces
to the bearings and to resist transverse
rotation, displacement and distortion.
„ Place diaphragms or cross-frames at
intermediate locations consistent with the
analysis of the girders.

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