Assessment and management of concrete bridges supported by monitoring data-based Finite Element modelling

Moreira De Sousa, HF (Univ. Porto), Bento, J (Efacec Capital SA) and Figueiras, J (Univ. Porto)

The long-term assessment of large and complex civil infrastructures, such as prestressed concrete bridges, based on Finite Element (FE) modelling remains a challenging task. The construction process, the influence of erection methods, the characterization of concrete properties, geometric accuracy and environmental conditions are key factors involved in the development of robust FE models. Data collected using permanently installed monitoring systems is the most reliable strategy to improve such assessments. Indeed, the availability of monitoring data is increasingly being used in the validation of design assumptions, updating of FE models and safety factors. In this work, the long-term behaviour of a long segmental bridge built in Portugal − Lezíria Bridge − is evaluated using FE model-updating. The combination of several factors, including: (i) the bridge’s scale, (ii) the monitoring database, (iii) the comprehensive scanning of important characteristics of the bridge and (iv) the FE modelling approach, makes this case study unique. Although the sensor trends are satisfactorily predicted, extrapolation of shrinkage and creep models, the influence of interior and exterior environments and thickness variations of the structural elements are identified as areas for further research.

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