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Engineering Structures 25 (2003) 1665–1674

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A consideration on intermediate diaphragm spacing in steel box


girder bridges with a doubly symmetric section
Nam-Hoi Park a, Nam-Hyoung Lim b, Young-Jong Kang a,∗
a
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Korea University, 5-1, Anam-Dong, Sungbuk-Ku, Seoul, 136-701, South Korea
b
Track and Civil Engineering Research Department, Korea Railroad Research Institute, 360-1, Woulam-Dong, Uiwang-City, Kyounggi-do,
437-050, South Korea

Received 29 November 2002; received in revised form 4 June 2003; accepted 5 June 2003

Abstract

Diaphragms in box girder bridges are implemented primarily to prevent premature excessive distortional deformation under
torsional loading condition. Distortional warping and transverse bending stresses, which are the major stress components resulting
from distortion, should be appropriately limited to a specific level for efficient use of the cross-section by installing adequate
intermediate diaphragms. The objectives of the present study are to develop a thin-walled box beam finite element and to propose
tentative design charts for adequate spacing of intermediate diaphragms. The developed beam element possesses nine degrees of
freedom per node and the validity was intensively verified from a series of comparative studies using a conventional shell element.
Also, performed herein are extensive parametric studies for continuous box girder bridges of doubly symmetric steel box section.
The design parameters taken into account were the desired ratio of the distortional warping normal stress to the bending normal
stress, the number of spans, the span length, the aspect ratio of the box section, and the spacing of the intermediate diaphragms.
The results were summarized into tentative design charts indicating efficient spacing of intermediate diaphragms for the various
stress ratios.
 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Diaphragm; Spacing of intermediate diaphragm; Distortional warping; Transverse bending; Box beam finite element

1. Introduction limitation of the ratio of the distortional warping normal


stress to the bending normal stress, and the other is limi-
During the past several decades, box girder bridges tation of the transverse bending normal stress [1,2].
have been constructed due to their large bending and Many studies associated with analyses of box girder
torsional rigidities. However, box girders are susceptible bridges have been performed over the last four decades.
to cross-sectional distortion under an eccentric loading However, although many researches, the number of rese-
condition. Unless distortion of the box girders is appro- arches on the distortional analysis related to the inter-
priately limited, the box girder bridges may experience mediate diaphragms is quite limited. The study related
significant premature distortion of the cross-section, to the distortional analysis of box girders was initiated
which may produce excessive distortional warping and by Dabrowski who first formulated the distortional
transverse bending stresses. In order to prevent these phenomenon of box members with a symmetric cross-
problems, in general, intermediate diaphragms are section [3]. Later, several studies were undertaken
installed in the box girder bridges. Design guidelines regarding the distortional analysis of the structures to
related to the intermediate diaphragms have been pro- give design guidelines on the intermediate diaphragms
vided to fulfill the following two requirements; one is [4,5]. More recently, other research efforts have been
imparted on the analytical and experimental studies asso-
ciated with the diaphragms in the box girder bridges.

Corresponding author. Tel.: +1-82-2-3290-3317; fax: +1-82-2- Nakai and Murayama [6] developed three approximation
921-5166. equations to estimate the distortional warping stresses in
E-mail address: yjkang@korea.ac.kr (Y.-J. Kang). the box girder bridges subjected to a uniformly distrib-

0141-0296/$ - see front matter  2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/S0141-0296(03)00145-7
1666 N.-H. Park et al. / Engineering Structures 25 (2003) 1665–1674

uted load, a distributed line load and a concentrated load, spacing of the intermediate diaphragms for the various
respectively. Yabuki and Arizumi [7] performed the ana- stress ratios are proposed.
lytical and experimental studies for the normal stress dis-
tribution due to the distortional deformation in the cross-
section of single-span box girder bridges. From para-
metric studies using analytical approach, they proposed 2. Review of design guidelines for intermediate
a spacing provision of the intermediate diaphragms to diaphragms
limit the distortional warping normal stress to 5% of the
bending normal stress. Megson and Hallak [8,9] carried
out analytical and experimental studies to determine the 2.1. AASHTO
optimum design of the stiffened/unstiffened bearing dia-
phragms of box girders with various support conditions.
Although a few researches were performed for the Primarily based on the study by Oleinik and Heins
spacing of the intermediate diaphragms, the application [4], the Guide Specifications for Horizontally Curved
is quite limited because only fixed values of the ratio Highway Bridges [1] by the AASHTO specify the
of the distortional warping normal stress to the bending maximum spacing of the intermediate diaphragms (LD)
normal stress were used. In fact, the policy limiting the as

冉 冊
distortional warping normal stress to merely 5% of the 1/2
R
bending normal stress has been adopted by the Hanshin LDⱕL ⱕ25ft (1)
Expressway Public Corporation of Japan, whereas 10% 200L⫺7500
limitation has been used in the design specifications by
where L and R denote the span length (dimensions in
the American Association of State Highway and Trans-
feet) and the radius of curvature (dimensions in feet),
portation Officials (AASHTO) [1,2]. It should be noted
respectively. This is basically to meet the requirement
that limiting the stress ratio to a specific value may be
that the distortional warping normal stress is limited
convenient for design practicing but may lead to very
within 10% of the longitudinal bending normal stress
uneconomic design practices, too. Noting that the cost
and the transverse bending normal stress should be lim-
for fabricating intermediate diaphragms is much higher
ited to 20 ksi (137.3 MPa) or lower.
than other elements, it is quite meaningful to develop
design provisions for adequate spacing of intermediate
diaphragms with respect to various desired stress ratios. 2.2. Hanshin Expressway Public Corporation of Japan
Among the numerous previous studies, however, no
research has ever been pertinent to adequate spacing of
the intermediate diaphragms with respect to various The Hanshin Expressway Public Corporation of Japan
desired stress ratios and internal force ratios. The provided the Guidelines for the Design of Horizontally
internal forces, such as bending moments, torsional Curved Girder Bridges (Draft) [2]. In these guidelines,
moments, and distortional bimoments are quite design criteria for the spacing of the intermediate dia-
important for design practices by the Load and Resistant phragms, which was based on the research of Sakai and
Factor Design. Nagai [5], was determined so that the distortional warp-
The objectives of the present study are to develop a ing normal stress is limited within 5% of the longitudinal
straight box beam finite element and to propose tentative bending normal stress. In addition to the restriction on
design charts, using the developed box beam element, the distortional warping normal stress, the transverse
for adequate spacing of the intermediate diaphragms. bending normal stress due to distortion of the box sec-
The developed beam element with nine degrees of free- tion should be limited to about 4.90 MPa or lower. To
dom per node, which can take account of extension, comply with the restriction, the guidelines specify the
flexure, torsion, and distortion in the box girder system, maximum spacing of the intermediate diaphragms for
was thoroughly verified from a series of comparative straight box girders as
studies using conventional shell element models. In


order to consider the effect of the intermediate dia-
6m (L ⬍ 60m)
phragms on distortional responses, extensive parametric
studies were performed using the developed box beam LD ⫽ (0.14L⫺2.4)m (60mⱕLⱕ160m) (2)
element. The design parameters were the desired ratio 20m (L ⬎ 160m)
of the distortional warping normal stress to the bending
normal stress, the number of spans, the span length, the
aspect ratio of the box section, and the spacing of the where LD and L indicate the spacing of the intermediate
intermediate diaphragms. From the results of these diaphragms (dimensions in meter) and the span length
analyses, tentative design charts indicating efficient (dimensions in meter), respectively.
N.-H. Park et al. / Engineering Structures 25 (2003) 1665–1674 1667

3. A thin-walled box beam finite element sion derived in Eqs. (3a–c) are similar to the functions
of Usami and Koh [10] and Kang and Yoo [11]. Mean-
3.1. Basic assumptions while, for distortion are similar to the functions of Nakai
and Yoo [12]. Transverse bending displacement function
The basic assumptions for the thin-walled box beam in Eq. (3d) is derived based on the geometric investi-
finite element is developed herein as follows: gation illustrated in Fig. 2.
u ⫽ u0⫺(y⫺ys)b ⫹ (y ⫹ yd)q (3a)
(a) The original shape is retained after deformation
except transverse bending; v ⫽ v0 ⫹ xb⫺xq (3b)
(b) The displacements are small;
(c) The stress is proportional to the strain; w ⫽ w0⫺xu⬘0⫺yv⬘0⫺wsb⬘⫺wdq⬘ (3c)
(d) The shear strains due to the change of bending and v n d ⫽ v nq

冉 冊 冉 冊
warping normal stresses are negligibly small;
1 3 2 2 1 1 (3d)
(e) The shear strains due to distortion are infinitesimal; vn ⫽ s ⫺ s ⫹ s ⌫B ⫹ 2s3⫺ s2 ⌫A
(f) The length of a beam is much larger than any other L2f Lf Lf Lf
dimension of the cross-section. where u, v, w, vnd, vn, Lf, s, ⌫B and ⌫A denote the dis-
placements with respect to the x-, y- and z-axes, the
Assumptions (a) and (f) give the background of the transverse bending displacements of each frame member
one-dimensional box beam behavior. In case of trans- due to the total distortion and the unit distortion, the
verse bending behavior due to distortion, it is indicated
length of frames, an independent variable related to the
that non-deformable beam theory is no longer valid. frame length, and factors to satisfy equilibrium and com-
Upon distortion, assumption (e) denotes that the shear patibility at each junction of the box section, respect-
strains due to distortion in the box beam will not be con- ively. Also, u0, v0, w0, ys, yd, b, q, ws, wd and ⬘ are the
sidered. displacements with respect to the x- and y-axes of shear
center, a longitudinal displacement with respect to cen-
3.2. Displacements and variational formulation troid, a perpendicular distance from centroid to shear
center, a perpendicular distance from centroid to distor-
The displacements and the Cartesian coordinate sys- tion center, a torsional angle, a distortional angle, the
tem of the present box beam at an arbitrary point A(x,y,z) warping function for torsion, the warping function for
are shown in Fig. 1. Since the cross-section of the box distortion and the first-order differentiation with respect
beam is symmetric with respect to the y-axis, the rep-
to the z-axis, respectively. The symbols shown in Fig.
resentative points such as centroid, shear center and dis- 2, i.e. MA, MB, MAB, and MBA denote the internal end
tortion center are located in the vertical centerline of the moments at each junction, respectively.
cross-section, i.e. y-axis. From the geometric investi-
The total potential energy is defined as the sum of the
gation on the deformed shapes of the box section due to strain energy stored in the member due to the defor-
flexure, torsion and distortion, the displacements of the mation and the loss of potential energy due to the applied
present beam in each direction are derived as following
loads. In this study, the first variation of the strain energy
Eq. (3). The displacement functions for flexure and tor- stored in the box beam may be divided into the three
parts of the axial, shear and transverse bending normal
strains, and is expressed as follows:
dŪ ⫽ dŪaxial ⫹ dŪshear ⫹ dŪtrans ⫽


⫺ [F⬘z dw0⫺M⬙ydu0 ⫹ M⬙xdv0 ⫹ B⬙tdb
L

⫹ B⬙ddq ⫹ T⬘SVdb⫺Kdqdq]dz ⫹ [Fz dw0 (4)


⫺M⬘ydu0 ⫹ M⬘xdv0 ⫹ B⬘tdb ⫹ B⬘ddq ⫹ Mydu⬘0
⫺Mxdv⬘0⫺Btdb⬘⫺Bddq⬘ ⫹ TSVdb]L0
where dŪ, dŪaxial, dŪshear and dŪtrans define the first vari-
ation of the total strain energy, the first variation of the
strain energy associated with the axial, shear and trans-
verse bending normal strains, respectively. The symbols
Fz, Mx, My, Bt, Bd, TSV and Kd denote the normal and
Fig. 1. Cartesian coordinate system of a present box beam. shear stresses, the axial force in the longitudinal direc-
1668 N.-H. Park et al. / Engineering Structures 25 (2003) 1665–1674

Fig. 2. Deformed shape of a box section and each frame member. (a) Deformed shape of a box section; (b) a frame with angular displacement
at both ends; (c) a frame with angular displacement at B and A fixed; (d) a frame with angular displacement at A and B fixed.

tion, the bending moments with respect to the x- and y- the fourth-order differentiation, respectively. Since the
axes, the bimoments for torsion and distortion, the pure analysis results on each behavior of the present beam is
torsional moment and the transverse bending stiffness expressed with respect to the representative points, such
for distortion, respectively. Also, the first variation of as centroid, shear center and distortion center, no coup-
the loss of potential energy in the box beam is defined ling problem between each behavior of the beam may
as follows: occur. The distortional warping constant and the trans-

冕 冕
verse bending stiffness for distortion are expressed as


dV̄ ⫽ ⫺ qi duidz ⫽ ⫺ [(qx⫺m⬘y)du0 ⫹ (qy
L L
Idw ⫽ w2d dA (7a)
⫹ m⬘x)dv0 ⫹ qzdw0 ⫹ (mT ⫹ m⬘w ⫹ ysqx (5) A

1
冉 冊
⫺ysm⬘y)db ⫹ mT dq] dz ⫺ [mydu0⫺mxdv0
2
Kd ⫽ 冕冉 冊 冕 冉 冊
s
M2t s
EI
ds ⫽
b

0
M2t s
EI
ds (7b)

⫹ myysdb⫺mwdb]L0
where dV̄, q, mT, mw, mx and my are the first variation
⫽ 冖冉 冊 M2t s
EI
ds

of the loss of potential energy, a uniformly distributed where Mts and I are the transverse bending moment and
force, a uniformly distributed torsional moment, a uni- the moment of inertia of each frame, respectively.
formly distributed warping moment, and the uniformly
distributed moments with respect to the x- and y-axes, 3.4. Nodal displacement and force vectors
respectively.
Nodal displacement and force components of the
3.3. Governing differential equations
present box beam are shown in Fig. 3. The components
per node and element are nine and 18 kinematic degrees
The governing differential equations of each behavior
of freedom, respectively. The nodal displacement and
of the present box beam are derived as follows:
force vectors are as follows:
⫺EAw⬙0 ⫽ qz (6a)
{d} ⫽ 具w0i u0i v0i u⬘0i ⫺v⬘0i bi ⫺b⬘i qi ⫺q⬘i
EI v ⫽ qy ⫹ m⬘x, EI u ⫽ qx⫺m⬘y
IV
x 0
IV
y 0 (6b) w0j u0j v0j u⬘0j ⫺v⬘0j bj ⫺b⬘j qj ⫺q⬘j 典T (8a)
EIwb ⫺GKTb⬙ ⫽ mT ⫹ m⬘w ⫹ ysqx⫺ysm⬘y
IV
(6c) ⫽ dk (k ⫽ 1,2,%,18)
1 {f} ⫽ 具Fzi Vxi Vyi Myi Mxi Tti Bti Tdi Bdi
EIdwqIV ⫹ Kdq ⫽ mT (6d)
2
Fzj Vxj Vyj Myj Mxj Ttj Btj Tdj Bdj典T (8b)
which denote the equations relative to the axial, flexural, ⫽ fk (k ⫽ 1,2,%,18)
torsional and distortional behaviors, respectively. Wher-
ein the symbols A, Ix, Iy, Iw, Idw, E, G, KT and IV are the where { } and ⬍ ⬎ indicate column and row vector,
area of a box section, the moment of inertias with respect respectively; the superscripts T and ⬘ denote the trans-
to the x- and y-axes, the torsional warping constant, the pose and the first derivation; the subscripts i and j are
distortional warping constant, the modulus of elasticity, starting and ending nodes of the element; F, V, M, Tt,
the modulus of rigidity, the pure torsional constant and Bt, Td and Bd are the axial force, the shear force, the
N.-H. Park et al. / Engineering Structures 25 (2003) 1665–1674 1669

Fig. 3. Nodal displacement and forces of a present box beam.

bending moment, the total torsional moment, the tor- dinate; z indicates the longitudinal coordinate of the box
sional bimoment, the total distortional moment and the beam element.
distortional bimoment, respectively. The total torsional The element stiffness matrix of the present box beam
and the total distortional moments, the torsional warping is formulated in the following tensor notation form:


and the distortional warping moments (Ttw and Tdw), and
the shear forces are defined as follows: Kij ⫽ EA (N⬘1iN⬘1j) dz (i,j ⫽ 1,10)
Tt ⫽ TSV ⫹ Tt w, Td ⫽ Td w (9a) L

Tt w ⫽ B⬘t, Td w ⫽ B⬘d
Vx ⫽ ⫺M⬘y, Vy ⫽ M⬘x
(9b) 冕
⫹ EIy (N⬙2iN⬙2j) dz
L
(i,j ⫽ 2,4,11,13)


(9c)
⫹ EIx (N⬙3iN⬙3j) dz (i,j ⫽ 3,5,12,14)
3.5. Displacement fields and element stiffness matrix L

冕 冕
(11)
Displacement fields of the present box beam are calcu- ⫹ EIw (N⬙4iN⬙4j) dz ⫹ GKT (N⬘4iN⬘4j) dz
lated by solving homogenous solutions of governing dif- L L
ferential equations associated with the four behaviors of (i,j ⫽ 6,7,15,16)

冕 冕
extension, flexure, torsion and distortion. These fields are
as follows:
⫹ EIdw (N⬙5iN⬙5j) dz ⫹ Kd (N5iN5j) dz
w0 ⫽ A1z ⫹ A2 (10a) L L

(i,j ⫽ 8,9,17,18)
u0 ⫽ A3z3 ⫹ A4z2 ⫹ A5z ⫹ A6 (10b)
v0 ⫽ A7z3 ⫹ A8z2 ⫹ A9z ⫹ A10 (10c) which demonstrates the stiffness matrixes on axial,
flexural, torsional and distortional behaviors, respect-
b ⫽ A11 ⫹ A12a z ⫹ A13sinha z ⫹ A14cosha z (10d) ively. The symbol N is the shape functions of each
q ⫽ A15cosh a2zcos a2z ⫹ A16cosh a2zsin a2z (10e) behavior. Also, the load vector relative to these four
behaviors of the present box beam is expressed as fol-
⫹ A17sinh a2zcos a2z ⫹ A18sinh a2zsin a2z lows:
in which,
l ⫽ 冕 [qzN1i ⫹ qxN2i ⫹ qyN3i⫺mxN⬘3i ⫹ myN⬘2i (12)
冪 冪
GKT Kd L
a⫽ ,a ⫽

4
EIw 2 4EIdw 1
⫹ mTN4i⫺mwN⬘4i ⫹ mTN5i dz (i ⫽ 1,2,%,18)
where the symbols A1 to A18 denote the generalized coor- 2
1670 N.-H. Park et al. / Engineering Structures 25 (2003) 1665–1674

4. Numerical validation As shown in Figs. 5 and 6, the two analyses show


an excellent correlation with each other, which strongly
To establish validity of the present box beam element, supports the validity of the developed box beam element.
two box girder bridge models were selected. The first It is evident from Figs. 5 and 6 that by installation of the
model is a box girder bridge without any intermediate four intermediate diaphragms, the distortional warping
diaphragm except bearing diaphragms at supports and normal stress is significantly reduced from 201.11 to
the second model is a box girder bridge with four inter- 39.24 MPa under the same concentrated load. Further-
mediate diaphragms of 8 m spacing. The type of the more, the transverse bending normal stress is further
intermediate diaphragms is of a solid-plate diaphragm. reduced from 235.44 to only 1.77 MPa.
Geometric and loading descriptions for the two models
are shown in Fig. 4. These models are subjected to two
load cases of a concentrated load of 981 kN (CL) and 5. Parametric study
a distributed load of 19.61 kN/m (DL). The modulus of
elasticity and the Poisson’s ratio are assumed as 205 947 An extensive parametric study was performed herein
MPa and 0.3, respectively. These models have the bear- in order to examine the effect of the intermediate dia-
ing diaphragms of thickness of 2.0 cm at both supports. phragms of the solid-plate type on the distortional
The boundary conditions of the bearing diaphragms are behavior of the steel box girders. A steel box girder
divided into three cases: one is a simple support con- model used for the parametric study is shown in Fig. 7
dition with respect to flexure; another is a fixed support and regarded as one with a non-composite doubly sym-
condition with respect to torsion and distortion; and the metric cross-section. The live loads were applied in this
last is a free support condition with respect to torsional parametric study based on the Standard Specifications
and distortional warping. Meanwhile, the boundary con- for Highway Bridges of the Korean Ministry of Con-
ditions of the intermediate diaphragms are divided into struction and Transportation [14]. The applied loads are
two cases: one is a fixed support condition with respect comprised of a distributed live load of 124.55 N/cm, a
to torsion and distortion; and the other is a free support concentrated live load of 105.92 kN, and the self-weight
condition with respect to torsional and distortional warp- of the concrete deck. The live loads are 33% larger than
ing. The beam and shell elements of the first model are those of the HS20-44 lane loading specified by the
employed 40 and 1648 elements, respectively, and those AASHTO, which comprised of a distributed live load of
of the second model are employed 40 and 1744 640 lb/ft (93.32 N/cm) and a concentrated live load of
elements, respectively. The conventional program for 18 000 lb (80 kN). The modulus of elasticity and the
shell analyses is LUSAS [13] and this shell element has Poisson’s ratio for the model are assumed as 205 947
eight nodes. MPa and 0.3, respectively. End supports and the inter-
mediate diaphragms are subjected to fixed boundary con-
dition for torsion and distortion, and to free boundary
condition for torsional and distortional warping. In order
to induce maximum distortional warping normal stress,
the live loads were applied to the box girders with the
maximum eccentricity allowed in the standard specifi-
cations.
The ranges of the parameters considered in this study
are summarized in Table 1. The span length, the number
of spans, the shape of the box section, and the spacing
of the intermediate diaphragms were major parameters
influencing the distortional behavior of the box girders.
In this parametric study, the lane loading divided into
separately in order to consider the independent effect on
the lane loading with eccentricities comprised of a con-
centric load and a distributed load. The concentric load
with an eccentricity divided into two components of a
concentric load and a concentric torsional moment. Simi-
larly, the distributed load with an eccentricity divided
into a distributed load and a distributed torsional
moment. These two torsional moments produce the
bimoments in box girders.
Fig. 4. Geometric and loading descriptions for two bridge models. From a number of distortional analyses, it was evident
(a) Elevation; (b) cross section A-A (dimensions in mm). that the distortional bimoment mainly depends on the
N.-H. Park et al. / Engineering Structures 25 (2003) 1665–1674 1671

spacing of the intermediate diaphragms as well as the


torsional moments. The maximum bimoments developed
in the box girders due to the eccentric live load specified
in the Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges of
Korea can be expressed in simpler forms as shown in
Eq. (13), which were obtained from an extensive
regression study based on the results due to the para-
metric analyses using the present box beam.
BdD ⫽ 0.02204mTL2D (13a)
BdC ⫽ 0.08683MTLD (13b)
where the symbols BdD, BdC, mT and MT denote the
maximum distortional bimoments (dimensions in N-
cm2) due to the distributed live load and the concentrated
live load, and the distributed torsional moment
(dimensions in N-cm/cm) and the concentrated torsional
moment (dimensions in N-cm), respectively. Since the
distortional bimoment is evaluated for concentrated load
and distributed load separately herein, the total bimo-
ment, BdT is merely the sum of both bimoments. It
should be noted that if the loads by the AASHTO were
taken into account, Eq. (13) would be the same. From
the bending moment and the distortional bimoment, the
corresponding bending and distortional warping normal
stresses are expressed as
M BdT
sb ⫽ y, sdw ⫽ w (14)
I Idw d
Therefore, the normal stress ratio, sdw/sb or z, can be
written by
sdw BdT
⫽ S⫽z (15)
sb M
in which,
BdT ⫽ BdD ⫹ BdC, M ⫽ Mb ⫹ MD ⫹ MC,
24 I
S⫽
BH (Af ⫹ Aw)
2

where the symbols I, Af, and Aw are the moment of iner-


tia of the box section, the area of a flange, and the area
of a web, respectively, and the subscripts b, D, and C
relate to the body force, the distributed load, and the
concentrated load, respectively. The bending moments
from the elementary mechanics are expressed as
Mb ⫽ 0.125bL2, MD ⫽ 0.125wDL2,
(16a)
MC ⫽ 0.250PL: Single ⫺ span
Mb ⫽ 0.070bL2, MD ⫽ 0.094wDL2,
(16b)
MC ⫽ 0.204PL: Two ⫺ span continuous
Mb ⫽ 0.079bL2, MD ⫽ 0.099wDL2,
Fig. 5. Distortional stresses for the first model. (a) Distortional warp- (16c)
ing normal stress (CL); (b) transverse bending normal stress (CL); (c) MC ⫽ 0.210PL: Three ⫺ span continuous
distortional warping normal stress (DL); (d) transverse bending normal
stress (DL). where b, wD and P denote the body force, the distributed
load and the concentrated load, respectively.
1672 N.-H. Park et al. / Engineering Structures 25 (2003) 1665–1674

Fig. 6. Distortional stresses for the second model. (a) Distortional warping normal stress (CL); (b) transverse bending normal stress (CL); (c)
distortional warping normal stress (DL); (d) transverse bending normal stress (DL).

Fig. 7. Geometric and loading descriptions for box girder models. (a) Cross-section of box girders (dimensions in cm); (b) various load cases.

Table 1
Summary of parameters

Number of spans Span length (L) Width (B) and height (H) Spacing of intermediate diaphragms (LD)

Single-span
2-span continuous 30–100 m 2–4 m 3–12 m
3-span continuous

Applying the appropriate limitation of the stress ratio, stress ratio, sdw/sb. For example, for a single-span box
z, into Eq. (15), the relations between the span lengths girder bridge with the span length of 50 m, the width of
and the spacing of the intermediate diaphragms can be 3 m and the height of 3 m, and the flange thickness of 2.0
obtained, and its relations are illustrated in Fig. 8. From cm and the web thickness of 1.2 cm of the box section,
Fig. 8, it can be shown that not only the spacing of the respectively, S is calculated as 0.03/cm. If the allowed
intermediate diaphragms but also the number of spans stress ratio is assumed as 0.06, z/S is 2 cm and hence
and the shape of the cross-section play an important role the spacing of the intermediate diaphragm is about 9 m,
in controlling the distortional warping normal stress. Fig. with reference to Fig. 8a.
8 may be effectively used to determine the effective
spacing of the intermediate diaphragms for an allowed
N.-H. Park et al. / Engineering Structures 25 (2003) 1665–1674 1673

and the distortional bimoment, etc., which is extremely


useful for understanding the structural behavior and is
necessary for design practices by the Load and Resist-
ance Factor Design. Considering the vast amount of
input and output tasks for the shell element analysis, the
importance of the presented beam element would not
need any further comment.
In order to investigate the effect of the intermediate
diaphragms of the solid-plate type on the distortional
behavior of steel box girders, an extensive parametric
study was performed herein. The computation of the dis-
tortional bimoments was further facilitated through an
extensive regression study using the results of the
numerous parametric studies. It was shown that the dia-
phragm is extremely effective in controlling the distor-
tional bimoment. The correlation between the spacing of
the intermediate diaphragms and the ratio of the distor-
tional warping normal stress to the bending normal stress
was extensively analyzed and the results were summar-
ized in the proposed tentative design charts. The design
charts will be useful for a practising engineer to effec-
tively determine the adequate spacing of the intermediate
diaphragms for a given specified stress ratio. Noting that
most current design specifications use a single stress
ratio, the possibility of using various stress ratios is pion-
eered in the present study.

References

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