Nonlinear analysis of isotropic slab bridges under extreme traffic loading

Donya Hajializadeh, A. Salam Al-Sabah, Eugene J. Obrien, Debra F. Laefer, Bernard Enright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Probabilistic analysis of traffic loading on a bridge traditionally involves an extrapolation from measured or simulated load effects to a characteristic maximum value. In recent years, long run simulations, whereby thousands of years of traffic are simulated, have allowed researchers to gain new insights into the nature of the traffic scenarios that govern at the limit state. For example, mobile cranes and low-loaders, sometimes accompanied by a common articulated truck, have been shown to govern in most cases. In this paper, the extreme loading scenarios identified in the long-run simulation are applied to a non-linear, two-dimensional (2D) plate finite element model. For the first time, the loading scenarios that govern in 2D nonlinear analyses are found and compared to those that govern for 2D linear and one-dimensional (1D) linear and nonlinear analyses. Results show that, for an isotropic slab, the governing loading scenarios are similar to those that govern in simple 1D (beam) models. Furthermore, there are only slight differences in the critical positions of the vehicles. It is also evident that the load effects causing failure in the 2D linear elastic plate models are significantly lower, i.e., 2D linear elastic analysis is more conservative than both 2D nonlinear and 1D linear and nonlinear analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)808-817
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian Journal of Civil Engineering
Issue number10
StatePublished - Aug 11 2015


  • Extreme traffic loading
  • Long-run simulation
  • Nonlinear analysis
  • Traffic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • General Environmental Science


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