Structural Investigation of Masonry Arch Bridges Using Various Nonlinear Finite-Element Models

Tapkın, Serkan, Tercan, Emre, Motsa, Siphesihle Mpho, Drosopoulos, Georgios orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4252-6321, Stavroulaki, Maria, Maravelakis, Emmanuel and Stavroulakis, Georgios (2022) Structural Investigation of Masonry Arch Bridges Using Various Nonlinear Finite-Element Models. Journal of Bridge Engineering, 27 (7). ISSN 1084-0702

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This article presents an investigation of the structural behavior of a masonry arch bridge in Turkey. An analytical study has been conducted to provide the geometry of the structure, using laser scanning. A point cloud describing the geometry was obtained and properly transformed into a format that is appropriate for structural analysis software (CAE). Then, nonlinear finite-element models were developed to simulate structural responses of the bridge. The goal of the article is to highlight the influence of both continuum and discrete approaches and related constitutive laws on the responses of the bridge. Thus, continuum damage laws and a discrete model consisting of unilateral contact–friction interfaces were developed. Different load cases were tested and a comparison between the results obtained from the different approaches was considered. The failure mechanisms and the ultimate strengths were derived, and core points of the models were highlighted. The output of this work shows how the different failure models predict the behavior of the masonry arches. It also shows that the three-hinge mechanism, which has been depicted in classical studies for single-span arch masonry bridges under a horizontal settlement of supports, may also be obtained for multiarch bridges. Similarly, downward, vertical settlement of supports may result in the development of two hinges, as in single-span arches. Finally, the beneficial influence of the backfill in limiting the failure in the arch is addressed.

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