Characterizing Bridge Thermal Response for Bridge Load Rating and Condition Assessment: A Parametric Study

Artem Marchenko, Rolands Kromanis*, André G. Dorée

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Temperature is the main driver of bridge response. It is continuously applied and may have complex distributions across the bridge. Daily temperature loads force bridges to undergo deformations that are larger than or equal to peak-to-peak traffic loads. Bridge thermal response must therefore be accounted for when performing load rating and condition assessment. This study assesses the importance of characterizing bridge thermal response and separating it from traffic-induced response. Numerical replicas (i.e., fine element models) of a steel girder bridge are generated to validate the proposed methodology. Firstly, a variety of temperature distribution scenarios, such as those resulting from extreme weather conditions due to climate change, are modelled. Then, nominal traffic load scenarios are simulated, and bridge response is characterized. Finally, damage is modelled as a reduction in material stiffness due to corrosion. Bridge response to applied traffic load is different before and after the introduction of damage; however, it can only be correctly quantified when the bridge thermal response is accurately accounted for. The study emphasizes the importance of accounting for distributed temperature loads and characterizing bridge thermal response, which are important factors to consider both in bridge design and condition assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Early online date26 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


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