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The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) determine the load effects to interior and exterior girders by the Bridge Design Specifications. The equations in both the AASHTO Standard and AASHTO Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) specifications do not take into account secondary elements, such as barriers, curbs, or diaphragms. Research has shown that the AASHTO equations are conservative,and that girders could be overdesigned. With the addition of secondary elements in the equations it would be possible to reduce the distribution factors after the secondary elements have been placed. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Structures Research Lab made field strain measurements on two bridges, one a Florida Bulb-T bridge and the other an AASHTO Type IV Girder bridge. The Florida Bulb-T bridge strain measurements were taken before and after barriers were placed, and the AASHTO bridge strain measurements were only for a post-barrier condition. The purpose of this research was to create two finite element models (FEM) using ANSYS 11.0 and calibrate them to the measured test results. After the calibrated models were validated a parametric study was performed comparing the effects of secondary elements on live load distribution. Included in this parametric study are the effects of the barrier, the barrier joint, and the diaphragms, on the girders, both interior and exterior. The results of this project show the effects of secondary elements and whether they are localized or global on the longitudinal span of the bridge, as well as tell how the live load is being distributed. Also, for load testing, recommendations on placement of strain gages will be discussed.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Michelle Rambo-Roddenberry, Professor Directing Thesis; Sungmoon Jung, Committee Member; Kamal Tawfiq, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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