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Smart Structures and Systems
  Volume 15, Number 2, February 2015 , pages 469-488

Analysis of three-dimensional thermal gradients for arch bridge girders using long-term monitoring data
Guang-Dong Zhou, Ting-Hua Yi, Bin Chen and Huan Zhang

    Thermal loads, especially thermal gradients, have a considerable effect on the behaviors of large-scale bridges throughout their lifecycles. Bridge design specifications provide minimal guidance regarding thermal gradients for simple bridge girders and do not consider transversal thermal gradients in wide girder cross-sections. This paper investigates the three-dimensional thermal gradients of arch bridge girders by integrating long-term field monitoring data recorded by a structural health monitoring system, with emphasis on the vertical and transversal thermal gradients of wide concrete-steel composite girders. Based on field monitoring data for one year, the time-dependent characteristics of temperature and three-dimensional thermal gradients in girder cross-sections are explored. A statistical analysis of thermal gradients is conducted, and the probability density functions of transversal and vertical thermal gradients are estimated. The extreme thermal gradients are predicted with a specific return period by employing an extreme value analysis, and the profiles of the vertical thermal gradient are established for bridge design. The transversal and vertical thermal gradients are developed to help engineers understand the thermal behaviors of concrete-steel composite girders during their service periods.
Key Words
    structural health monitoring; thermal gradient; temperature; concrete-steel composite cross-section; arch bridge
Guang-Dong Zhou and Huan Zhang: College of Civil and Transportation Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
Ting-Hua Yi: School of Civil Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China
Bin Chen: College of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou 310003, China

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