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Egyptian Society of Engineers

Egyptian Society of Engineers


Bridge Engineering Conference, March 2000
Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

GEOMETRIC NONLINEARITY OF SINGLE-PLANE CABLESTAYED BRIDGES DURING CANTILEVERING

Hassan HEGAB1, Osama TAWFIK2, Mohammed T. NEMIR3,


and Hesham NOUR El-DEEN4

Summary
The geometric nonlinearity of single-plane cable-stayed bridges during cantilevering is
investigated. A three-dimensional geometric nonlinear finite element implementation for a
two-node beam-column element based on the theory of torsional-flexural behaviour is
applied. A real bridge (Aswan cable-stayed bridge) is taken for the sake of numerical study.
The results show that cable-stayed bridges, during cantilevering, are highly geometrically
nonlinear. The results also clarify that while the vertical deflections of the deck during
construction are much more than those developed due to live loads, the forces in the stay
cables are slightly less than those caused by live loads on the completed bridge.
Keywords: Cable-stayed bridges, Single-plane, Construction, Cantilevering, Finite element.

1. Introduction
During the construction of cable-stayed bridges by the cantilevering method, the erected
part of the bridge carries its own weight and the weight of the construction equipment. At
this phase, the statical system of the bridge is double-stayed cantilever girder, which has a
remarkably less stiffness than the final statical system of the entire bridge. The objective of
this investigation is to study the behaviour of single-plane cable-stayed bridges during
cantilevering.
A three-dimensional geometric nonlinear finite element formulation is used. The three
sources of geometric nonlinearity in cable-stayed bridges namely; axial force-bending
moment interaction, sag of stay cables, and change of bridge geometry due to large
displacements, are taken into account in the analysis.

2. Construction by the Cantilevering Method


1

Professor of theory of structures, Faculty of Engineering, Ain Shams University, Egypt


Professor of theory of structures, Faculty of Engineering, Menoufia University, Egypt
3
Associate Professor of structural engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Menoufia University, Egypt
4
Structural engineer, Arab Consulting Engineers (ACE), Egypt, E-mail hesham_n@hotmail.com
2

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This method is very often employed in the construction of cable-stayed bridges where
temporary supports are not recommended. It may increase the required cross section of the
deck compared with that required for the final stage to accommodate the increased
moments and shear forces during construction (Podolny 1976). Cantilever construction of a
bridge deck is carried out by providing a succession of segments, where each segment
placed carries the weight of the next segment and, on occasion, the weight of the formwork.
Each segment is integrated with the previous one as soon as it becomes strong enough. It
then becomes self-supported and, in its turn, is the starting base for a new segment. The
stability of the resulting cantilever is secured, at each step of construction, either by high
tensile bolts and welding in case of a steel deck, or by longitudinal prestressing cables in
case of a concrete deck. These prestressing cables are set on the upper fibres of the deck
(Mathivat 1983). For concrete bridges, segments may be casted in-situ in mobile forms, or
prefabricated, transported, and set in place with an appropriate lifting device.

3. Stiffness Matrices for Beam-Column Element


For the bridge deck and pylon elements, it is efficient to use a geometric stiffness matrix to
modify the elastic stiffness matrix of each element. The element stiffness equation is
expressed by:

{P }= [ [K E ]+ [K G ] ]{ i }

( 1 )

in which {P} is the nodal forces column vector (Barsoum 1970), [K E ] is the elastic
stiffness matrix, [K G ] is the geometric stiffness matrix, and { i } is the column vector of
nodal displacements. [K E ]and [K G ] are given by (Nour El-deen 1997) as:
[K E ] = 1 {d i}T {D }{d i}dV
( 2 )
2
T
( 3 )
[K ] = {d } {P }{d }dV
G

in which {d i } is a shape functions column vector, {D} is the matrix of properties of the
element, and V is the element volume (Barsoum1970). Substituting for the shape functions
and their derivatives in Eqs. 3 and 2, respectively, and integrating with respect to the
volume of the element, the elastic stiffness matrix, and the geometric stiffness matrix can be
derived. The details of the derivation, and the full matrices are explained in (Nemir 1985,
and Nour El-deen 1997).

4. Stiffness Matrices for Stay Cable Element


The inclined single cable forms the basic element of cable-stayed bridges. A right
understanding of the deformational characteristics of such cable is therefore essential for the
synthesis as well as the analysis of this type of structures. The use of equivalent modulus of
elasticity to idealize the cable element to a straight linear elastic element is one of the most
practical methods to analyse stay cables. This concept was firstly introduced by Ernst and
has been verified by some investigators (Podolny 1976, and Gimsing 83). The equivalent
modulus of elasticity over a certain load increment is given by:

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( 5 )
(wc Lh ) (Ti + T f )AE
1+

24 Ti2 Tf2

in which E is the modulus of elasticity of the cable material, A is the cross-sectional area, Ti
and Tf are the initial and final tensile forces in the cable during the load increment, wc is the
unit weight of the cable, and Lh is the horizontal projection of the cable. Based on the
concept of equivalent modulus of elasticity, the cable element is idealized to a truss element,
consequently, the stiffness matrix in local coordinates of the cable element is given by:
Eeq. =

( 6 )

AE
1 1
[K ] = eq
L 1 1

5. Numerical Study
The following example illustrates the behaviour of cable-stayed bridges during cantilevering
(Nour El-deen 1997). Aswan cable-stayed bridge over the Nile is chosen for the sake of
numerical study. The cable-stayed part of Aswan bridge over the Nile is 500 m long. It
consists of five spans with lengths of 48.92, 76.08, 250, 76.08, and 48.92 m, respectively.
The width of the deck is 24.3 m with four lanes of 3.75 m each, median strip of 3 m, and two
sidewalks; each of 2.5 m. The bridge has two pylons of height 53 ms over the deck. The
bridge is supported by a single plane of stay cables. Fourteen pairs of stay cables are attached
to each pylon. Figure 1 shows the longitudinal profile of the bridge.
5.1 Construction Stages
Aswan cable-stayed bridge is built by the cantilevering method, with segments cast in-situ in
mobile carriage. The segment length is 3.906 m. The construction is divided into 16 stages.
Except stages 0, and 15, other stages are standard. Each standard stage is devoted to the
construction of two stayed segments, two unstayed segments, and the installation of two stay
cables. Figures 2, 3, and 4 show the bridge at the end of stages 0, 1, and 8, respectively.
Stage 0 involves the construction of the pier segment and the first three segments in each of
the main and side spans. Construction of the key segment is the construction stage
number 15. At the end of this stage, the bridge is completely built and takes the longitudinal
profile shown in Fig. 1.
5.2 Vertical Deflection during Cantilevering
The bridge is solved during cantilevering at the end of each construction stage four times.
Firstly, it is solved linearly using the designed prestressing forces in the stay cables. Secondly,
it is solved nonlinearly using the same prestressing forces in the stay cables. Thirdly, the
bridge is solved linearly without any prestressing forces in the stay cables, and finally, it is
solved nonlinearly without any prestressing forces in the stay cables. At each time, the vertical
deflections of the points of attachment of the stay cables with the deck are determined.

Designed by EEG (France), under construction by Nile company (Egypt) and Freyssinet international
(France)

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Although, each stage i of construction, is built on the displaced shape resulting from the
previous stage i -1, it is preferable, especially for comparison purposes, that each stage is
solved using the reference shape of the bridge.
In order to investigate the vertical deflections, the bridge is resolved under uniform distributed
live load of 700 kg/m2 for traffic lanes and uniform distributed live load of 400 kg/m2 for side
walks. The vertical deflections of the points of attachment of the stay cables are plotted in the
form of curves. Each curve represents a historical study of one point, along the period of
construction, and in the case where the bridge is totally loaded by the live loads mentioned
above. Figures 5 to 8 show this historical study for points S1, M1, S9, and M9. The complete
historical studies for all points of stay cable attachments are given in (Nour El-deen 1997).
Observation of these Figs. yields to the following comments:
1. In case of non-prestressed stay cables, the structure tends to behave linearly during
construction or in service alike.
2. In case of applying prestressing forces to the stay cables, the structure tends to behave
nonlinearly under construction or in service alike.
3. The main span tends to nonlinearity much more than the side spans.
4. Up to construction stage No. 9, the linear and nonlinear results are approximately the
same. From the 10th stage, the nonlinear deflections are much more than the linear
deflections.
5. Although, the intermediate pier affects the deflections of the side span, it has no
considerable effect on the main span. Also, it affects the case when the stay cables are not
prestressed much more than those of the case of highly prestressed.
6. The closing of the bridge affects the vertical deflections. The statical system is
transformed from a balanced cantilever to a continuous beam, which is much stiffer. For
this reason, the difference between the nonlinear behaviour and the linear behaviour is
remarkably decreased.
7. Always, the deflections for the case of prestressed stay cables are upward. Deflections are
downward for the case of non-prestressed stay cables. This leads to the fact that
deflections, and accordingly stresses, can be accurately controlled using appropriate
prestressing forces.
5.3 Stay Cables Forces during Cantilevering
The stay cable forces corresponding to the vertical deflections discussed in article (5-2) are
also plotted in the form of curve. Each curve represents a historical study of the stay cable
along the period of construction, and in the case where the bridge is totally loaded by live
loads. Figures 9 to 12 show this historical study for SSC1*, MSC1**, SSC9, and MSC9. The
complete historical studies for all stay cables are given in (Nour El-deen 1997). Observation
of Figs. 9 to 12 yields to the following comments:
1. In case of non-prestressed stay cables, the structure tends to behave linearly during
construction or in service alike.
2. In case of applying prestressing forces to the stay cables, the structure tends to behave
nonlinearly under construction or in service alike.
3. In case of prestressing the stay cables, the stay cable forces are much more than those in
case of non-prestressed stay cables.
*

Side span stay cable No. 1.


Main span stay cable No. 1.

**

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4. Up to construction stage 9, the linear and nonlinear results are approximately the same.
After the 9th stage, the cable forces calculated from the nonlinear analysis are much
more than those calculated from the linear analysis.
5. The closing of the bridge affects the stay cable forces. The statical system is transformed
from a balanced cantilever to a continuous beam, which is much stiffer. For this reason,
the difference between the nonlinear behaviour and the linear behaviour is remarkably
decreased.
6. The effect of nonlineartity on the cable forces is considerable in both main and side
spans.

6. Conclusions
The following general conclusions are recorded from the present study:
1. During construction by the cantilevering method, single-plane cable-stayed bridges
are highly nonlinear structures. The nonlinearity increases with the progress of
construction as the cantilever length increases.
2. At the end of construction, the statical system of the bridge is transformed from
balanced cantilevers to a continuous beam. This stiffens the structure.
Consequently, the vertical deflections along the stayed girder are remarkably
reduced and the nonlinearity effect is also reduced.
3. The higher stay cable pretensioning forces, the higher nonlinearity behaviour. For
the case of neglecting the pretensioning forces in the stay cables, the linear solution
is quite reasonable.
4. The pretensioning in the stay cable reduces the vertical deflections, and accordingly
the stresses, developed in the girder. This impels to use temporary stay cables for
the construction of other types of bridges, especially for long span bridges.

7. References
Barsoum, R.S., and Gallahger, R.H. (1970), Finite Element Analysis of Torsional and
Torsional-Flexural Stability Problems, International Journal for Numerical Methods in
Engineering, Vol. 2, pp. 335-352.
Gimsing, N.J. (1983), Cable Supported Bridges-Concept and Design A WileyInterscience, New York.
Mathivat, J. (1983), The Cantilever Construction of Prestressed Concrete Bridges A
Wiley Intersience Publication, New York.
Nemir, M.T. (1985), Finite Element Stability Analysis of Thin-Walled Steel Structures
Ph.D. Thesis, University of Salford, U.K.
Nour El-deen H. (1997), Finite Element Analysis of Single Plane Cable-Stayed Bridges
under Construction by Cantilevering Method M. Sc. Thesis, University of Menoufia.
Podolny, W., and Scalzi, J.B. (1976), Construction and Design of Cable-Stayed Bridges
Wily Interscience, New York.

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Fig. 2. End of Stage 0

Fig. 3. End of Stage 1

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