Stress Distributions in Girder-Arch-Pier Connections of Long-Span Continuous Rigid Frame Arch Railway Bridges


Because of their large stiffness and spanning capability, continuous rigid frame arch bridges are attracting increasing interest in the development of high-speed railway networks in China. The internal loadings are associated with both the continuous rigid frame and arch substructural systems. Thus, the bridges are subjected to complex stresses, in particular, at the girder-arch-pier connections. The evaluation of the mechanical performance and understanding of the stress distribution of the girder-arch-pier connection are critical for ensuring the effective design and condition assessment of the bridges. This paper investigates the stress distributions in the girder-arch-pier connections of the world's longest continuous rigid frame arch railway bridge, the Yichang Yangtze River Bridge. Two models with a length scale of 1/10 were prepared and tested for the side-span and midspan girder-arch-pier connections, respectively. Detailed stress distributions in the connection models were measured, and three-dimensional finite-element models were established to help understand the measured stress distributions. The side-span and midspan connections are primarily in compression and have similar stress distributions.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

INSPIRE - University Transportation Center


This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant 51108382), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant 2682015CX07), and the Science and Technology Research and Development Plan of China Railway Construction (Grant 2014-C34). The first author was funded by the Chinese Scholarship Council to visit Missouri University of Science and Technology for 1 year.

Keywords and Phrases

Arch bridges; Finite element method; Piers; Railroad bridges; Railroad transportation; Railroads; Rigidity; Stress concentration; Continuous rigid frame; High speed railway networks; Mechanical performance; Model tests; Railway bridges; Strain distributions; Three dimensional finite element model; Yichang Yangtze River bridge; Arches; Continuous rigid frame arch bridge; Girder-arch-pier connections; Model test; Railway bridge; Strain distribution

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Article - Journal

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© 2018 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jul 2018