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Bridgearticulationandbearingspecification

FromSteelconstruction.info

Articulationisthetermfortheconfigurationofbridgesupportsandchoiceofstructuralbearingsthatprovidesthe
necessaryrestraintstothesuperstructurewhilstatthesametimeprovidingfreedomtosomedisplacementsand
rotationsinordertoavoidunnecessaryforcesonboththesuperstructureandsubstructureduetoconstraint.

Arangeofdifferentbearingtypesisavailable.Selectionoftheappropriatetypeandspecificationoftheforcesthey
mustresistanddisplacementstheymustpermitisakeyresponsibilityforthestructuraldesigner.

Clearcommunicationoftherequirementsforthebearingsandfortheirinstallationisessentialforproperfunctioningof
thestructureandforavoidanceofunanticipatedmaintenanceissues.

Typicalelastomericpotbearingunderasteelgirder
Articulation
Bearingsareusedtotransferforcesfromthesuperstructuretothesubstructurewhilsteithertoleratingorconstraining
relativemovement.Theprincipalactionsthatgiverisetodisplacementsandrotationsatsupportsare:

Temperaturechange(uniformandtemperaturedifference)
Shrinkageofconcretedeckslab
Permanentactions(deadloadsandsuperimposeddeadloads)
Variableactionsmainlytrafficloads
Verticalloads
Horizontalloads
Settlementofsupports
Accidentalactionsvehicularcollision

Movementscanbeeitherpermanent(irreversible)ortransient(reversible).

Generally,thestructurewillrotateaboutlongitudinalandtransverseaxesatitssupportsandtheserotationsmusteither
beaccommodatedinthebearingsorthebearingsmustbedesignedtoresistthem(inwhichcasetheeffectsonthe
structuremustalsobeconsidered).Insomecases,thereisalsoarotationaboutaverticalaxis(associatedwithplan
bendingofthestructure)butthisisusuallysmallinmagnitude.

Horizontaldisplacementsatsupportsarisebothfromanoverallchangeinlengthofthestructureandduetobendingin
averticalplane(sincethecentroidalaxesareabovethelevelsofthesupports).Sinceitisnecessarytoresisthorizontal
forcesatatleastoneposition,itisusualtodosobypreventinghorizontaldisplacementatthatpositionthismeansthat
horizontaldisplacementsatotherpositionsareduetotheexpansion/contractionofthelengthfromthefixedbearing
andtothe(vectorial)sumofthemovementsduetobendingrotation.

Thefollowingrecommendationsrelatetothearticulationarrangementsfortypicalhighwaybridges.

Asbearingsandexpansionjointsintroduceamaintenanceliability,itisgoodpracticetolimitthenumberofbearings
requiredandtominimisethemovementtobeaccommodatedbyanexpansionjoint.Spansshouldbearrangedsoasto
avoidupliftatbearingpositions(itisaverycomplexandcostlymattertoproviderestraintagainstupliftinabearing),
particularlywhendealingwithskewedstructures.

Thedesignershouldavoidlockinginforcesthatwouldhinderbearingreplacement.Restraintagainstlongitudinalforces
shouldbeprovidedatonesupport,withguidedrestraintsalignedtoallowmovementattheothersupports.Similarly,
restraintagainsttransverseforcesshouldbeprovidedatonlyonebearingateachsupport.Theconstructionsequence
ofthestructureshouldalsobeconsidered,toestablishthepermanentdisplacements.

Thearticulationschemethatthedesignerchoosesshouldbeshownonthedrawingsandwillformthebasisofa
bearingschedule.

TheconventionforillustratingthemovementsandconstraintsinbearingsisgiveninTable1ofBSEN13371[1].A
selectionofcommonsymbolsisgivenbelow.

Symbolsforcommonbearingtypes(fromTable1ofBSEN13371[1])
Relativemovements
Symbolin
Typeofbearing X Y Z About About About
plan
direction direction direction Xaxis Yaxis Zaxis

Elastomericbearing deforming deforming small deforming deforming deforming

Elastomericbearing
withrestraintsfor deforming none small deforming deforming deforming
oneaxis

Potbearing none none verysmall deforming deforming deforming

Potbearingwith
sliding none verysmall deforming deforming deforming
unidirectionalsliding
Potbearingwith sliding sliding verysmall deforming deforming sliding
multidirectional
sliding

Note:SomesymbolsareduetobemodifiedinafutureamendmentofBSEN13371[1].Thesymbolsforelastomeric
potbearingswillbesolidblack,ratherthananopensquareandcircle.

Singlespanbridges

Floatingarticulation

Ifabridgedeckisrelativelysmallandtheassociatedhorizontalforcesarenottoobig,thedeckcaneffectivelyfloaton
bearingsthatwilleachaccommodaterotationalandtranslationaldisplacementsandwilleachprovidepartofthe
resistancetohorizontalforces.Thebearingsforthisarticulationarrangementwillbeelastomericbearings.Allhorizontal
forcesandmovementsarethenaccommodatedbysheardeformationofthebearings.

Floatingbearinglayout(singlespanonelastomericbearings)

Articulationfromafixedpoint

Mostbridgeswillrequiresomeformofmechanicalrestrainttoresistthehorizontalforcesandensurethatthermal
expansionandcontractionoccursintherightdirection.Thisismosteasilyachievedusingpotbearings.

Simplebridgebearinglayout(singlespanonpotbearings)

Thearrangementaboveshowsthelayoutforasimplesinglespanstructurewithskew.Thebridgedeckisfixedinone
cornerandhorizontalmovementsarecontrolledbytheuseofguided(unidirectional)bearings.Afree(multidirectional)
bearingisprovidedforthediagonallyoppositecornertothefixedbearing.Longitudinalforcesaretakenbyboththe
fixedandguidedbearingatthefixedendofthespan.Inawiderdeck,itwouldbepreferabletolocatethefixed
bearingclosertothecentreofthedecksoastominimisetherelativetransversemovementandthuslimitthe
movementstobeaccommodatedbytheexpansionjoint.

Continuousmultispandecks

Forlongerspans,themagnitudeofthemovementsincreasesandthereforetheseshouldbeminimisedbylocatingthe
fixedbearingatthecentreofthebridgetoensurethethermalexpansionissplitbetweeneachendofthebridge.Care
shouldbetakentoensurethatthepierisdesignedfortheresultinghorizontalforces,particularlyfrombrakingand
accelerationactions.
Examplesofbearinglayoutsfora2spanbridge(onpot
bearings)

Onmultispanstructures,careshouldbetakentoensuremovementsarenotrestrained,howevertheuseofslender
piersthatareabletoflexmayallowforloadsharingbetweenbearingsatasupportlocation.

FurtherexamplesofbridgearticulationarrangementaregiveninGuidanceNote1.04.

Curvedbridgedecks

Curveddeckscanbeguidedeitherradially
fromafixedpointortangentiallytotheradius
ofcurvature.Ifthedeckisguidedradially,
thentheaccuracyofthegeometrybecomes
criticalforthebearingsfurthestfromthe
fixedpoint.

Forstructureswithaconstantcurvatureitis
besttoalignthebearingstangentiallyto
effectivelyguidethedeckaroundthecurve
asitexpandsandcontracts.Theresulting Radialalignmentonacurvedbridge
horizontalforcesareoftenaccommodated
bytheuseofspecificguidebearingswhich
maynotbeverticalloadcarrying.

Tangentialalignmentonacurvedbridge
Expansionjoints
Mosthistoricbridgeshadnospecificmeansofarticulationbetweenthedeckandsubstructure:movementswould
producelocalcrackingattheabutments.Inmodernbridges,articulationarrangements,suchasthosedescribedabove,
accommodatethermalandothermovementsbyselectingappropriatebearingsasfixedandallowingcontrolled
movementstotakeplaceelsewhere.Atroadlevel,thesemovementsareaccommodatedbyanexpansionjoint,which
isolatestheabutmentsfromthedisplacementsandmaintainstheintegrityofthesurfacingattheendofthebridge.

Thebridgedesignershouldspecifytheexpansionjointsinasimilarmannertobearings,givingdetailsofcharacteristic
anddesignvaluesofdisplacementstothejointdesigner.

AnnexBofBSEN19932[2]containsguidanceforthepreparationofatechnicalspecificationforexpansionjoints.

Byintroducingbearings,andparticularlybyintroducingexpansionjointsatroadlevel,asignificantmaintenanceliability
iscreated.Toreducesuchliability,integralconstructionisoftenconsideredforshortbridges.Forexample,BD57[3]
currentlyrecommendsthatintegralconstructionbeconsideredforallbridgesupto60moveralllengthandlessthan30
skew.Thisreduces,andinsomecaseseliminates,theneedformaintenancebutthedesignermuststillconsiderthe
movements(displacementsandrotations)thatareinducedbytrafficandthermalactionsandmakeappropriate
allowances.
Bearings
TheproductstandardforbearingsisBSEN1337andthisisthestandardreferredtointheEurocodes.BSEN1337
comprises11Parts,ofwhichthemostrelevantare:

1.Part1:Generalrules[1]
2.Part2:Slidingelements[4]
3.Part3:Elastomericbearings[5]
4.Part5:Potbearings[6]
5.Part8:GuidedbearingsandRestrainedBearings[7]

Thechoiceofbearingwillbegovernedbyboththevaluesanddirectionsoftheactionsandalsobythemagnitudeand
directionsoftheallowedandrestraineddisplacements.Typicalloadbearingcapacities(atULS)aretabulatebelow.

FurtherguidanceonthetypesofbearingsandtheirusagecanbefoundinGuidanceNote3.03.

Loadcapacityofbearingtypes
Loadcapacity
Type Comments
(kN)
Strip 2001,000 Limitedtranslationandrotation,andusedonlyforveryshort
Elastomeric Pad 10500 spansandlightloads
Laminated 1001,000 Widelyusedforshortspans
Pot 50030,000 Proprietaryproduct,widelyusedonsteelbridges
Nolateralrotation,fixedbearings,railbridges,largelongitudinal
Linerocker 1,00010,000
rotation
Spherical 1,00012,000 Expensive,largerotationcapacity,usedonmajorsteelbridges

Elastomericbearings

Elastomericbearingsnormallyconsistofanumberofrubberlayers
separatedbysteelplates.Thesearenormallylaidinpadsorstripsand
areideallysuitedforsmallstructures.Theyaccommodatemovementsby
deformation.Itisnotnormallyrequiredtofixthebearinginplaceas
frictionbetweentherubberandthesupportsurfaceswillnormallybe
adequate.

Elastomericbearingsprovideanexcellenteconomicsolutionfor
applicationswherestructuremovements,longitudinal,transverseand
rotationalaresmall.Theyprovidevibrationisolationandaregenerally
simpletoinstall.Elastomericbearingsarerelativelymaintenancefreebut
willdegradeovertimeandrequirereplacement.

Largermovementsrequiretallerbearingsandpossiblyadditional
mechanicalmeansofpreventingthebridgedeckfromeffectivelyfloating
fromthedesiredposition.Whenusedonsteelbridges,elastomeric
bearingscanbepositivelylocatedusingperimeterkeepstripsweldedto
theundersideofthebottomgirderflange. Elastomericbearing

Potbearings

Theelastomericpotbearingconsistsofaconfineddiskofelastomerwithinashortcylinder(thepot).Loadingisthen
appliedviaaclosefittingsteelpiston.Thisputstheelastomerunderhighpressure,makingitbehavelikealiquid,
permittingrotationinanydirectionwithverylittleresistance.

Aslidingsurfacecanbeincludedtoaccommodatetranslationalmovement,whichcanbeinanydirectionorconstrained
byguides.Therotationsandthetranslations,aswellastheloadscarried,canbegreaterthanforelastomericbearings.
Elastomericpotbearingwithmultidirectionalslidingpart

Otherbearingtypes

Sphericalbearings

Sphericalbearingsareusedtoaccommodatelargerotationsbytheuseofalowersphericalsurface.Thisisnormally
linedwithdimpledPTFEandmatchedtoanupperstainlesssteelsurface.Thesetypesofbearingsaremoreexpensive
thanpotbearingsduetotheincreasedmachiningandwouldonlybeusedonmajorstructures,toaccommodate
increaseddeckrotations.Generally,thesebearingsrequireaminimumcoexistentverticalloadtopreventinstability.

Sphericalbearings

Sphericalbearingwithslidingguided
Plainsphericalbearing
element

Rockerbearings

Thesebearingsallowrotationaboutasingleaxis(usuallytransverseto
thegirder).Theadvantageofthesebearingsisthattorsionalrestraintis
providedabouttheaxisorthogonaltothelineofcontactandtherefore
canbeusefulinUframebridges.Theyareoftenusedwhenimpact
loadingishigh,suchasonrailwaybridges.

Guidebearings

Asthenamesuggests,thesebearingsareusedtoensurethestructure
maintainsthecorrectlocationorexpansion/contractionpathandtakeno
verticalload.Thesetypesofbearingsareoccasionallyusedonheavily
skewedormultispanstructures.

Linerockerbearing
Guidebearing
Bearingspecification
Itisthebridgedesignersresponsibilitytopreparethebearingschedule.Thescheduleshouldcontainthefollowing
information:

Alistofforcesonthebearingsfromeachaction
Alistofmovementsofthebearingsfromeachaction
Otherperformancecharacteristicsofthebearings

Thebearingdesigner(normallythemanufacturer)willthenusethisinformationtodeterminethedesignvaluesand
thereforethefullspecification.Therearecurrentlytwoalternativetemplatesgivenforthebearingschedule,oneisgiven
inTableA.3ofAnnexAofBSEN19932[2]andtheotherinTableB.1AnnexBofBSEN13371[1].

TableA.3ofBSEN19932[2]requiresthedesignertogivecharacteristicvaluesduetotheseparateactions,whichthen
needtohavepartialandcombinationfactorsappliedtothemtogivethedesignvalueforthebearings.Generally,the
bearingdesignerwillbeunawareoftherelevantdesigncombinationsandwillthusnotbeabletodeterminedesign
valuesforthebearingsfromthesecharacteristicvalues.

TableB.1ofBSEN13371[1]simplyexpectsthedesignertogivetherelevantdesignvaluesofloads(forcesonthe
bearings)anddisplacements.Thisschedulealsorequiresreferencedata,maximumdimensionsandfixingdetailstobe
indicated.Thisismoreinformativeforthebearingdesignerbutstilldoesnotgivethefullrangeofcoexisting
combinationofforcesanddisplacementsforeachbearing.(Thisdeficiencywillbeaddressedintheplanned
AmendmenttoBSEN13371[1],whichwillgivenewscheduletables.)

Bearingschedule(asinTableB.1ofBSEN13371)[1]
StructureNameorReference
BearingIdentificationMark
TypeofBearing(seeTable1ofBSEN13371)[1]
Numberoff
UpperSurface
SeatingMaterial
LowerSurface
AverageDesign Serviceability
ContactPressure UpperFace Ultimate
(N/mm2)
(Capacityof Serviceability
LowerFace
structure) Ultimate
Max.
Vertical Perm.
ServiceabilityLimitState Min.
DesignLoad Transverse
Effects(kN) Longitudinal
Vertical
UltimateLimitState Transverse
Longitudinal
Transverse
Irreversible
Serviceability Longitudinal
LimitState Transverse
Reversible
Longitudinal
Displacement(mm)
Transverse
Irreversible
UltimateLimit Longitudinal
State Transverse
Reversible
Longitudinal
Transverse
Irreversible
Serviceability Longitudinal
LimitState Transverse
Rotation(Radians) Reversible
Longitudinal
MaximumRate Transverse
(Radians/100kN) Longitudinal
UpperSurface Transverse
Longitudinal
MaximumBearing
Dimensions(mm) LowerSurface Transverse
Longitudinal
OverallHeight(mm)
Vertical
Tolerablemovementofbearingundertransient
Transverse
loads(mm)
Longitudinal
Maximumacceptablereactiontodisplacement Transverse
underserviceabilitylimitstate(kN) Longitudinal
Maximumacceptablereactiontorotationunder Transverse
serviceabilitylimitstate(kNm) Longitudinal
UpperFace
Typeoffixingrequired
LowerFace

Thedesignermustbeawareofthedifferencebetweenthetwoschedulesandensurethatadequateinformationis
suppliedtothebearingsupplier.Itisalsoimportant,forcorrectinstallation,thattheorientationofthebearingisclear
seeadviceinGuidanceNote2.09.

Itisimportanttonotethat,forsteelbridges,thebearingsarenormallyinstalledbeforecompletionofthebridgedeck
andthereforebearingswillhavetoaccommodateadditionalthermaldisplacementsandalsomovementsdueto
constructionactivities.Acommonsituationthatmustbeconsideredisrotationduetoprecamberandthedropout
duringconstruction,particularlyinheavilyskewedstructureswheremaybelargetransverserotationsatthesupports.
Theserotationsareafunctionoftheplangeometryandarerelatedtothemagnitudeofthedeadloadeffectsandthe
precamberprovided,theycannotbeavoided.
Bearinginstallation
Bearingsarenormallyboltedtothegirdersaboveandthesubstructurebelowtoallowreplacement.Normallythe
bearingsurfaceissettobehorizontalandthereforetaperplatesarenormallyrequiredtofollowthegeometryofthe
steelworkabove.Thesetaperplatesshouldbedesignedalongwiththemaingirders,takingintoaccountthefinal
geometryofthebridgepostcamber.Thebearingsarenormallyboltedthroughthegirderbottomflangethough
difficultiesdoarisewiththickflangesandmoderatetolargegradientssinceitisonlyfeasibletodrillsquaretotheflange
surface.Acommonsolutiontothisproblemistousetappedholesinthetaperplate,whichisthenweldedtothe
undersideofthegirderwhenusingthisdetail,thehorizontalforcesonthebearingneedtobeminimised.Referto
GuidanceNote2.08formoreinformation.

Skewladderdeckbeingloweredontoanelastomeric
potbearing Attachmentofbearingbyboltingthroughgirderflange
(ImagecourtesyofArup)

Initialtemperatureandtemperaturerange

Anestimatefortheinitialinstallationtemperaturefortheinstallationofthebearingshouldbegivenbythedesignerto
theconstructorenablethebearingtobesetcorrectlypriortoinstallation,inordertoallowthefullexpansionand
contractiondisplacementstobeaccommodated.ThisisnotexplicitlystatedinAnnexBofBSEN13371[1]butisstated
inAnnexAofBSEN19932[2].Someguidanceforthisinstallationtemperatureandtheassociatedtemperaturerange
isfoundintheEurocodesbutthereremainssomepotentialconfusion.Thefollowingisanattempttoguidethedesigner
throughtherelevantpartsoftheEurocodesrelatingspecificallytobearingsandexpansionjointsastheonusisonthe
designertospecifytherangeofdisplacementattheultimatelimitstate.

AninitialbridgeTemperatureT0isgivenintheNationalAnnextoBSEN199115[8],clauseNA.2.21statesthat"Inthe
absenceofspecificprovisionstocontrolthetemperatureatwhichabridgeisrestrained,theinitialtemperatureT0
shouldbetakenas0Cforexpansionand20Cforcontraction."ThiswouldthenbetakeninconjunctionwithBSEN
199115[9]clause6.1.3.3(3)Note2forbearingswhichadds20Ctoboththeexpansionandcontractionrangeofthe
uniformtemperaturecomponentifnofurtherinformationisavailable.Thismaybereducedtoanadditional10Cifan
initialinstallationtemperatureisspecified.However,clauseNA.2.6oftheNationalAnnextoBSEN199115[8]then
pointsthedesignertoBSEN19932[2].

AnnexAofBSEN19932[2]requiresareferenceT0tobecalculatedasabove.Theuncertaintyofthepositionofa
slidingbearingatinstallationshouldbeaccountedforbyaddingT0asdescribedinTableA.4.Thedesignvaluefor
temperaturedifferenceisthendeterminedbyaddingT0toTKandincludingasafetytermTy,whichisgivenas5C.

Itissensibletogivetheassumedinstallationtemperature,soastoreducethetemperaturerangeofthebearingsa
valueshouldbeselectedtobesuchthatthetemperatureexpansionandtemperaturecontractionaresimilar(i.e.inthe
middleoftherange),avalueforT0of10Cwouldbereasonable.

UsingthisinstallationtemperatureT0of10Casthereferencetemperaturewillgivesimilarbutnotidenticalresultsfor
bothmethods.Asthedesignershouldusethetemperaturerangesgiventoestimatethemaximumreversible
displacements,thereisscopeforconservatismherewithoutunduecost.
VerificationoftheinitialinstallationtemperatureonsitewillneedtobemadeinaccordancewithBSEN133711[10].

Furtherguidanceonhowdesignersshouldcalculatethemovementrangetobespecifiedforbridgebearings,taking
accountofboththermalchangeanduncertaintyintherelativepositioningofbearingsonthesubandsuperstructures,
isavailableinSCIP406.
Maintenanceofbearings
ClauseA.3.1(6)ofBSEN19932[2]statesthatbearings
andsupportsshouldbedesignedinsuchawaythatthey
canbeinspected,maintainedandreplacedifnecessary.
Toachievethis,accessforinspectionmustbeprovided,
theremustbemeanstorelievethebearingsofload,and
itmustbyphysicallypossibletoextracttheoldandinsert
anewbearing.

Atanabutment,acommondesignfeaturethatfacilitates
inspectionandmaintenanceofthebearingsisthe
abutmentgallery.Anexampleofthearrangementfora
compositebridgeisshownright.

Abutmentgalleryforacompositebridge
References
1.^1.01.11.21.31.41.51.61.71.81.9BSEN13371:2000.Structuralbearings.Generaldesignrules.BSI
2.^2.02.12.22.32.42.52.6BSEN19932:2006Eurocode3Designofsteelstructures:SteelBridges.BSI
3.^BD57/01DesignforDurability.TheDesignManualforRoadsandbridges.TSO
(http://www.standardsforhighways.co.uk/ha/standards/dmrb/vol1/section3/bd5701.pdf)
4.^BSEN13372:2004.Slidingelements.BSI
5.^BSEN13373:2005.Structuralbearings.Elastomericbearings.BSI
6.^BSEN13375:2005.Structuralbearings.Potbearings.BSI
7.^BSEN13378:2007.GuidedbearingsandRestrainedBearings.BSI
8.^8.08.1NAtoBSEN199115.UKNationalAnnextoEurocode1:Actionsonstructures:Generalactions
Thermalactions.BSI
9.^BSEN199115.Eurocode1:Actionsonstructures:GeneralactionsThermalactions.BSI
10.^BSEN133711:1998.Structuralbearings.Transport,storageandinstallation.BSI
Furtherreading
Hendy,C.R.Murphy,C.J.DesignersGuidetoBSEN19932Eurocode3:Designofsteelstructures.Part2Steel
bridges.ThomasTelfordLtd.
Hayward,AlanWeare,Frank.(1989)SteelDetailersManual.BSP.
Ray,S.SBarr,J.Clark,L.(1996)Bridgedetailingguide.(ReportR155)CIRIA.
Souby,M.(2001)Bridgesdesignforimproveddurability.(ReportC543)CIRIA.
Resources
Iles,D.C.(2010)Compositehighwaybridgedesign.(P356includingcorrigendum,2014).SCI
Section8.8
Hendy,C.R.Iles,D.C.(2015)SteelBridgeGroup:GuidanceNotesonbestpracticeinsteelbridgeconstruction
(6thIssue).(P185).SCI
GuidanceNote1.04Bridgearticulation
GuidanceNote2.08Attachmentofbearings
GuidanceNote2.09Alignmentofbearings
GuidanceNote3.03Bridgebearings
SteelBridges:Apracticalapproachtodesignforefficientfabricationandconstruction.(51/10).BCSA
Section3.10:Bearings
Iles,D.C.(2015)Determiningdesigndisplacementsforbridgemovementbearings.(P406,2015).SCI
Seealso
Integralbridges
Halfthroughbridges
Skewbridges

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