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Title: Behaviour and analysis of a flexible concrete arch
Author: Bourke , John David
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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The development of steel reinforced concrete in the early 20th century led to a decline in masonry arch bridge building. Traditional masonry arch construction is time consuming and involves considerable form work usually in the form of timber centring, as well as traditional skills. As a result, reinforced concrete arches and slab and beam bridges became common. However, durability issues associated with corrosion of steel have become a major and costly problem and design can now favour steel-free structures. The FlexiArch bridge system is a sustainable alternative for short span crossings and contains no steel reinforcement or mortar joints. This thesis presents detailed research into the behaviour and analysis of FlexiArch systems through laboratory models and non-linear finite element analysis. The arches were monitored through lifting, arch ring tests, backfilling, and under full test loading. The variables in the eight arches were the backfill type, arch ring thickness, solid and hollowcore voussoir design, and span to rise ratio. The experimental investigation demonstrated that higher peaks loads were achieved in the arches of higher arch ring thickness; the rings with so lid voussoirs sustained higher loads than rings with hollowcore voussoirs, and doubling the arch span (shallower profile) typically halved the peak load. The importance of accurate material properties for use in numerical prediction was highlighted in the literature and control tests were carried out to determine the material properties. The nonlinear finite element analysis investigated three areas. Firstly, models were constructed to replicate those tested in the laboratory and to further compare key variables. Secondly. a detailed parametric study in material properties demonstrated that many of the parameters had a linear relationship with the arch predicted peak load. Finally the NLFEA model was validated through modelling four arch bridges presented in the literature and predicted accurate behaviour when compared to tests.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available