Advanced numerical modelling and development of design rules for novel demountable steel-concrete composite bridges

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering & the Environment


The PhD project will develop advanced finite element models in ABAQUS to reproduce the complex nonlinear behaviour of full-scale specimens (e.g. 10 m span steel-concrete composite bridge) in the laboratory. The calibrated models will be used to: (i) gain further insight in the local behaviour of the new components; (ii) optimise their structural details; and (iii) assess their effect on the short-term and long-term behaviour of composite bridges. Moreover, parametric numerical simulations will be conducted to expand the available experimental databank and formal statistical methods will be used to develop reliable design rules within the framework of Eurocode 4. Finally, the project will conduct realistic bridge design and life cycle cost assessment studies.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509747/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1941822 Studentship EP/N509747/1 27/03/2017 31/03/2020 Eirini Tzouka
Description Many of the European bridges were designed during the period 1845-1970 with a working life of 50 years. Most of those bridges are operational today, but their safety is questioned since they have reached the end of their design life and in some cases, there are not well maintained. Consequently, the majority of the EU countries must invest in rehabilitation projects to ensure serviceability and safety. Rehabilitation projects involve inspection, repair and strengthening of bridge components. In some cases, where the bridge components have reached the end of their design life, their replacement is necessary. These operations usually lead to economic losses as well as socio-economic loses caused by the disruption in transport networks.
One of the most serious problems in maintaining and rehabilitating bridges is the deterioration of bridge decks. In the case of steel-concrete composite bridges, removing and replacing the deteriorating deck is a challenging process due to the connection between the deck and the steel beam. The connection is usually achieved through conventional headed studs, which are welded on the top flange of the steel beam and are fully embedded within the concrete deck. Therefore, removing the deck involves drilling and crushing the concrete around the shear connectors and then breaking the deck into manageable sections.
The aim of the project is the development of design rules for novel demountable shear connectors that allow bridge disassembly by using advance numerical methods. An accurate three-dimensional finite element model was proposed to investigate the behaviour of novel demountable shear connectors in push-out tests. Subsequently, a parametric study was performed to evaluate the effect of significant parameters, on the capacity and behaviour of novel demountable shear connectors.
Exploitation Route The proposed FE model can be used to investigate the behaviour of composite beams with novel demountable shear connectors. A parametric study can then be conducted in order to investigate the effects of the shear connection ratio and the longitudinal reinforcement on the behaviour of the beams. Finally, by using formal statistical methods, reliable design roles can be developed within the framework of Eurocode 4. These parts are expected to be included in this PhD project in the following year.
Fatigue analysis of steel-concrete composite bridges using the investigated novel demountable connector are highly recommended for future researchers.
Sectors Construction,Transport

Description Novel demountable shear connectors in steel-concrete composite bridges can be used extensevely in the construction industry. Demountable shear connectors is a sustainable design method that facilitates installing and dismantling of composite structures without reducing their structural integrity and efficiency. Rapid bridge disassembly will allow the easy replacement of the deteriorating bridge components and therefore will result in extension of bridge design life.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Construction,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Economic