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Cable stayed bridges : nonlinear elastic dimensional analysis Janzen, Walter F.


Cable stayed bridges are the state of the art in long span bridges. Developments in cable response analysis and computer hardware and software have allowed engineers to design and build many cable stayed bridges. Bridges of many different configurations with longer and longer spans are being built. With the long spans and high axial loads in the deck, the stability of cable stayed bridges becomes a growing concern. Current analysis procedures use a parabolic approximation to the true catenary response of cables, which is quite accurate for tight cables; however, for near instability conditions with the accompanying large deflections and consequently loose cables, a catenary model is called for. Herein, a study is conducted on the elastic stability of cable stayed bridges utilizing a true catenary model of cable response. A dimensional analysis of cable stayed bridge stability is undertaken as well as deck maximum deflection and moment under service load conditions. A computer program written by this author is the analysis tool used in this work. The program is given the acronym ULA which stands for Ultimate Load Analysis. ULA is a nonlinear plane frame program with catenary cable elements and an interactive graphics interface. The dimensional analysis is carried out by comparing the computer model of a cable stayed bridge to the theoretical model of a beam on an elastic foundation. Two preliminary simplified cable stayed bridge backspan models are studied first in order to develop the dimensionless ratios that are applicable to the bridge response and to gain an insight into the cable stayed bridge behaviour. The final model is that of an entire cable stayed bridge. Because of the multitude of parameters governing cable stayed bridge behaviour it is not possible to describe all cable stayed bridges. Instead, the dimensionless behaviour of a standard model is examined and the sensitivity of this standard to various parameter variations is given in the form of dimensionless charts. Finally, a preliminary design and analysis aid is developed from the dimensionless charts and is then applied to two existing bridge designs.

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