Experimental and Numerical Investigations on the Structural Response of Precast Concrete Underpasses Subjected to Live Loads

Fernando António Baptista Branco, Mário Rui Tiago Arruda, João Pedro Ramôa Ribeiro Correia


This paper presents results of experimental and numerical investigations on the structural response of precast concrete underpasses when subjected to the effects of vehicular live loads. In situ full-scale load tests were carried out on three different precast concrete underpasses, with inner radii of 6.50 m, 3.00 m and 1.50 m. In these tests, the structural response of the underpasses when subjected to load trucks was assessed in terms of their radial deflections. Numerical investigations included the development of linear elastic 2D and 3D finite element models of the underpasses tested. Based on the good agreement between experimental data and numerical calculations, load distribution factors were computed for different forces (bending moments, compression and shear) and these can be used for design purposes. The paper analyses also the effects of varying the thickness of the cover soil and the thickness of the concrete arch in the load distribution factors of precast concrete underpasses.


underpass; precast concrete; live loads; experimental tests; numerical models; finite element models; load distribution factors

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DOI: 10.3846/bjrbe.2013.07


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