Modelling techniques for structural evaluation for bridge assessment

  • Shojaeddin Jamali
  • Tommy H. T. Chan
  • Andy Nguyen
  • David P. Thambiratnam
Original Paper


Load assessment of existing bridges in Australia is evaluated mainly using beam line model and the grillage analogy to examine the structural integrity of bridge components due to live loadings. With the majority of existing bridge networks designed for superseded design vehicular loading, the necessity to utilise more rigorous analysis methods to assess the load effects of bridges is indispensable. In this paper, various vehicular loading cases on a grillage model of a box girder bridge and its equivalent finite element model (FE) are considered, and their applicability for bridge assessment using structural health monitoring (SHM) as defined in the new revision of AS 5100.7 is studied. Based on numerical analyses, it was observed that component-level load effects in the two models have notable differences, irrespective of vehicle speed, position and loading. However, when global-level load responses are compared, the discrepancy in analysis outputs drops dramatically. The modelling ratios developed in this paper are practical and will be applicable with any modelling techniques for bridge assessment under vehicular loading on both a global and component-response basis. It was also observed that FE is more efficient in terms of model updating and damage simulation, and hence more appropriate for implementation of SHM techniques. The proposed flowchart suggested for heavy load assessment incorporates detailed and simple modelling approaches aligned with experimental data obtained by SHM techniques, which can be used for periodic and long-term monitoring of bridges. It can enhance the proper determination of bridge condition states, as any conservative estimation of bridge capacity may result in unnecessary load limitations.


Bridge assessment Grillage analogy Finite element model Load assessment Structural health monitoring 



The first author is thankful for full financial support provided by Queensland University of Technology. Also, valuable comments provided by Prof. Eugene O’Brien for grillage modelling is appreciated.


  1. 1.
    Shaw P, Pritchard R, Heywood R (2014) Bridge analysis: are we data managers or engineers? In: Proceedings of 9th Austroads bridge conference, Sydney, New South Wales, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Morrison S, Moses J (2011) Benefits and uses of FE modelling in bridge assessment and design. In: Proceedings of the 8th Austroads bridge conference, Sydney, New South Wales, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Jamali S, Chan THT, Thambiratnam DP, Ross Pritchard, Nguyen A (2016) Pre-test finite element modelling of box girder overpass-application for bridge condition assessment. In: Proceedings of the Australasian structural engineering conference (ASEC), Brisbane, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Jaeger LG, Bakht B (1982) The grillage analogy in bridge analysis. Can J Civ Eng 9(2):224–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Lu P, Li F, Shao C (2012) Analysis of a T-frame bridge. Math Probl Eng 2012.
  6. 6.
    Sadeghi J, Fathali M (2012) Grillage analogy applications in analysis of bridge decks. Aust J Civ Eng 10(1):23–36. Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Yang M, Zhong H, Telste M, Gajan S (2016) Bridge damage localization through modified curvature method. J Civ Struct Health Monit 6(1):175–188. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    McElwain BA, Laman JA (2000) Experimental verification of horizontally curved I-girder bridge behavior. J Bridge Eng 5(4):284–292. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Krzmarzick DP, Hajjar JF (2006) Load rating of curved composite steel I-girder bridges through load testing with heavy trucks. In: Structures Congress, 2006.
  10. 10.
    Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (2013) Tier 1 heavy vehicle bridge assessment criteria. Transport and Main Roads (TMR), Queesnland, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Australian Standards (2017) Bridge design—part 2: design loads (AS 5100.2). SAI Global, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Australian Standards (2017) Bridge design—part 7: bridge assessment (AS 5100.7). SAI Global, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Pritchard R (2014) AS 5100.7 bridge assessment: 2014 revision. In: Proceedings of the 9th Austroads bridge conference, Sydney, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Pritchard R (2017) Revision of Australian Standard AS 5100 part 7: bridge assessment. In: Proceedings of the 10th Austroads bridge conference, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hambly EC (1991) Bridge deck behaviour, 2nd edn. E & FN Spon, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Qaqish M, Fadda E, Akawwi E (2008) Design of T-beam bridge by finite element method and AASHTO specification. KMITL Sci J 8(1):24–34Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Jenkins D (2004) Bridge deck behaviour revisited. In: Proceedings of the 5th Austroads bridge conference, Hobart, TasmaniaGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Obrien EJ, Keogh D, O’Connor A (2014) Bridge deck analysis, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FlordiaGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Surana C, Agrawal R (1998) Grillage analogy in bridge deck analysis. Narosa, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Australian Standards (2017) Bridge design—part 5: concrete (AS 5100.5). SAI Global, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Reddy JN (2006) Theory and analysis of elastic plates and shells, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Bosa RocaGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Moravej H, Jamali S, Chan THT, Nguyen A (2017) Finite element model updating of civil engineering infrastructures: a review literature. In: International conference on structural health monitoring of intelligent infrastructure, Brisbane, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Hambly E, Pennells E (1975) Grillage analysis applied to cellular bridge decks. Struct Eng 53(7):267–276Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    National Association of Australian State Road Authorities (1976) NAASRA bridge design specification, 5th edn. National Association of Australian State Road Authorities, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    AECOM Australia (2002) Investigating the development of a bridge assessment tool for determining access for high productivity freight vehicles (AP-R398-12). Accessed 1 Jun 2016
  26. 26.
    Lake N, Ngo H, Kotze R (2014) Review of AS 5100.7 rating of existing bridges and the bridge assessment group guidelines (AP-R452-14). Accessed 1 Jun 2016
  27. 27.
    Lake N, Seskis J, Ngo H, Kotze R (2014) Review of axle spacing mass schedules and future framework for assessment of heavy vehicle access applications (AP-R466-14). Accessed 1 Jun 2016
  28. 28.
    Pritchard R, Heywood R, Shaw P (2014) Structural assessment of freight bridges in Queensland. In: Proceedings of the 9th Austroads bridge conference, Sydney, New South Wales, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Schlune H, Plos M (2008) Bridge assessment and maintenance based on finite element structural models and field measurements. Chalmers University of Technology, GöteborgGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil Engineering and Built EnvironmentQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations