You are on page 1of 1

# Assessment of a Masonry Arch Bridge

## Arthur Thorne MEng

Some 40,000 masonry arch bridges are in continual use by highways, railways and waterways, most of which are over 100 years old. From January 1999 the European Commission Directive 96/58/EEC requires all trunk road bridges to be capable of 40 tonne axle loadings. Objectives To obtain a greater understanding on the topic of arch bridges To undertake a problem that is similar to a real life engineering project To survey the bridge so that it can be dimensioned, then analysed To analyse the structure in order to determine a value for the weight limit To propose and investigate various strengthening techniques Survey The survey was conducted on 28/04/2007, and the AutoCAD drawing from the upstream side of the bridge is shown in Figure 1.

## Figure 3 Equations for Mechanism Analysis

A graphical approach The spreadsheet that was used to find the locations of the hinges, was modified so that a value for live load and abutment thrust could be entered, and the maximum live load determined for the actual thickness of the arch ring. Heymanss Plastic Method Heyman constructed a set of tables for a quick analysis using figures for dead weight of the bridge, and geometry related to the overall rise of the arch. For the bridge in this project it was not possible to use these tables, so the equation on which the tables were based was used instead. RING Software Analysis The RING software was developed by the University of Sheffield and is based on the principles of the mechanism analysis. Several of the parameters required were unknown, and had to be assumed, an analysis to the extent of these unknowns is shown graphically below.

## Figure 1 AutoCAD drawing on upstream side

Fullers construction The arch bridge is represented by its centre line, and the thrust line is also shown, calculated from the funicular polygon. The horizontal scale of the arch is now distorted, either by stretching or compressing each segment between the loading points, so that the line of thrust comprises of two straight lines. To equilibrate the loads all that needs to be done is to see if two straight lines can be drawn within this distorted arch. For the arch shown in Figure 2(c) this is only just possible, and so could not be done for an arch of smaller thickness. Comparing this with the actual thickness of the arch ring gives the geometrical factor of safety.
Figure 2 Fullers Construction

## Figure 6 RING software location of hinges

Method of analysis Fullers Construction MEXE Pippards elastic method Heymans Plastic method A graphical approach Mechanism analysis Ring
Table 1 Summary of results