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Raid Karoumi

Department of Structural Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology, S-100 44, Stockholm, Sweden

Received 2 December 1997; accepted 12 November 1998

Abstract

This paper presents a method for modeling cable supported bridges for nonlinear nite element analysis. A two-

node catenary cable element, derived using exact analytical expressions for the elastic catenary, is proposed for the

modeling of cables. The cable element tangent stiness matrix and internal force vector are evaluated accurately and

eciently using an iterative procedure. The reliability and eciency of the formulations used are demonstrated by

studying the behavior of the Great Belt suspension bridge during girder erection and the behavior of a cable-stayed

bridge. Eigenfrequency analyses are also conducted and the results show good agreement when compared with

previously published data. # 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Cable element; Beam element; Finite element method; Nonlinear analysis; Cable-stayed bridges; Suspension bridges;

Great Belt suspension bridge

1. Introduction

Due to their esthetic appearance, ecient utilization

of structural materials and other notable advantages,

cable supported structures, such as suspended roofs,

guyed towers, cable-stayed bridges or suspension

bridges, have gained much popularity in recent dec-

ades. Among bridge engineers the popularity of cable-

stayed bridges has increased tremendously. Bridges of

this type are now entering a new era with main span

lengths reaching 1000 m [1,2,41]. This fact is due, on

one hand to the relatively small size of the substruc-

tures required and on the other hand to the develop-

ment of ecient construction techniques and to the

rapid progress in the analysis and design of this type

of bridge.

The increasing attention on cable structures is not

only due to their inherent beauty but also to their

stubborn nature in not easily revealing the secret of

their nonlinear behavior. Cable structures exhibit

highly geometrically nonlinear behavior, they are very

exible and undergo large displacements before attain-

ing their equilibrium conguration. Due to this inher-

ently nonlinear behavior, conventional linear analysis

which assumes small elastic deformations and displace-

ments is often not applicable [3,4].

A brief early history of the research into the beha-

vior of cables has been published in [5], as well as a

more recent history in [6]. Methods of static and

dynamic analysis and the behavior of cable structures

are thoroughly presented in [1,3,5,7]. In [6,8,9], trial-

and-error search procedures have been proposed for

the nonlinear computer analysis of simple cable pro-

blems. For cable roof structures, analysis methods and

several very illustrative design details, e.g. details of

connections, are presented in [10].

For cable supported bridges, i.e. suspension and

cable-stayed bridges, the trend today is to use more

shallow or slender stiening girders combined with

increasing span lengths. For that reason, it is highly

desirable in bridge engineering to develop accurate

procedures that can lead to a thorough understanding

Computers and Structures 71 (1999) 397412

0045-7949/99/$ - see front matter # 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

PII: S0045- 7949( 98) 00244- 2

and a realistic prediction of the structural response.

Although several investigators [4,1118] have studied

the nonlinear behavior of cable supported bridges,

very few [16,17] have tackled the problem of using

cable elements for modeling the cables.

Commercial nite element programs used in civil en-

gineering today cannot be readily used for the model-

ing and analysis of modern cable structures as they

lack suitable cable elements that can accurately model

the actual cable curvature. As the cable represents a

exible member with virtually no resistance to applied

moments, the idea of replacing each cable by a bar el-

ement with equivalent cable stiness or by several

beam elements with negligible moment of inertia has

found wide acceptance and has been adopted by many

investigators and designers using commercial codes.

As the popularity of cable structures has increased,

the search for more ecient methods has intensied

and today various other cable modeling techniques

than the crude modeling with a bar element mentioned

above can be found in the literature. In [19], a two-

node curved nite element was developed, using cubic

polynomial interpolation functions, and used for the

static and dynamic analysis of three-dimensional (3-D)

prestressed cable nets. In [20], another two-node

curved nite element was developed using Lagrangian

functions for the interpolation of element geometry. In

[3,21], derivations of isoparametric cable elements,

which includes the element curvature, are presented,

and in [16] a four-node isoparametric cable element

was used for modeling cables in cable-stayed bridges.

An iterative analysis procedure for cables, based on

using exact analytical expressions for the elastic caten-

ary, was suggested in [22,23]. This approach was later

adopted by other investigators, developed and used for

the analysis of very simple cable structures [24,25] and

of power transmission lines [26]. In [5], the same

approach was also suggested for the analysis of cable

structures with appreciable sag and the applicability of

this method was later demonstrated in [17] on numeri-

cal examples of cable supported bridges.

The cable element used in this study is derived using

the exact analytical expressions for the elastic catenary

given in [25]. The procedure presented later on in this

paper, to drive this cable element, is similar to that

described in [5,17]. However, the analytical expressions

for the elastic catenary adopted here are somewhat

simpler and therefore easier to handle. This element

can be used for modeling large sag cables such as sus-

pension bridge main cables, cables in long span cable-

stayed bridges, cables in large cable roofs, etc., where

straight elements are not readily applicable.

The study presented in this paper emphasizes the

modeling aspects of cable supported bridges. Accurate

and ecient cable and beam nite elements, found in

the literature, are adopted for modeling the bridge

structures. The formulation of these elements is

included in this paper for the sake of clarity and also

for the purpose of having a paper as self-contained as

possible. Despite the fact that the cable modeling tech-

nique, based on the expressions given in [25], has been

available for many years now, it has, to the author's

knowledge, not yet been used for analysis of cable-

stayed and suspension bridges. It is also believed that

the beam element adopted here has not been used ear-

lier for analysis of this type of structures.

The expressions of the internal force vectors and

tangent stiness matrices for the elements used were

derived using the Maple software package for symbolic

computations [27]. Samples of these Maple procedures

are given in Appendix A.

2. Structure modeling

The cable-supported structures considered in this

paper are cable-stayed and suspension bridges. Such

bridges consist of cables, pylons and girders (bridge

decks) and are usually modeled using beam and bar el-

ements for the analysis of the global structural re-

sponse [14,37]. In the following, an alternative

approach is presented where accurate and ecient

cable and beam elements are used for the modeling.

All sources of geometric nonlinearity, such as change

of cable geometry under dierent tension load levels

(cable sag eect), change of the bridge geometry due

to large displacements, and axial forcebending

moment interaction in the bridge deck and pylons (P

d eect), are considered in the present analysis.

For simplicity the derivation and the modeling pre-

sented in this study are only in two dimensions.

Consequently, torsional eects and torsional modes of

vibration are disregarded. As modern cable supported

structures are exible three-dimensional structures,

two-dimensional models are of course not adequate

when studying the response of such structures under

the action of environmental loads like wind, trac and

earthquakes [37,39]. However, simplied two-dimen-

sional bridge models are still very useful for bridge

designers in the preliminary design stage, e.g. for inves-

tigating the feasibility of alternative structural sol-

utions. For the interested reader, accurate three-

dimensional cable and beam elements can be found in

[25,31].

The formulation of cable and beam element matrices

will be described later in this paper, where these will

be given in the element local coordinate system. For

each individual element in the model, the evaluated el-

ement matrices in the local coordinate system are

transformed to global coordinate system by the usual

coordinate transformation technique [21]. The struc-

ture matrices (i.e. the global tangent stiness matrix

R. Karoumi / Computers and Structures 71 (1999) 397412 398

K

t

, global mass matrix M, and global internal force

vector p) are constructed from the transformed

matrices of the individual elements of the structure by

the general assembly procedure [21].

2.1. Modeling of cables

The problem of analyzing cables under dierent con-

gurations and loading conditions is very complex.

This is because stress/strain relationships for cables are

highly nonlinear and also because large displacements

introduce nonlinearities in the geometric sense.

There are mainly three approaches to the nonlinear

behavior of cable elements. In the rst approach each

cable is replaced by one bar element with equivalent

cable stiness. This approach, often adopted when

modeling cables in cable-stayed bridges, is referred to

as the equivalent modulus approach and has been used

by several investigators [2,4,11,12,15,18,28,29]. The

equivalent tangent modulus of elasticity, used to take

account of the sag eect, is derived in [1] and can be

written as:

E

bar

eq

=

E

cable

1

(rgL

x

)

2

12s

3

E

cable

(1)

where E

cable

is the cable modulus of elasticity, r is the

density of the cable material, g is the acceleration of

gravity, L

x

is the horizontal projected length of the

cable, and s the tensile stress in the cable. It can be

noticed that increasing the tensile stress in the cable

will, as the sag decreases, lead to an increase in the

apparent axial stiness of the cable. It has been shown

in [16] and will be shown in Section 2.1.2 of this paper

that the equivalent modulus approach results in softer

cable response as it accounts for the sag eect but

does not account for the stiening eect due to large

displacements. Still, for some cases, e.g. for short span

cable-stayed bridges, linear analysis utilizing the equiv-

alent modulus approach is often sucient [1,2,14], es-

pecially in the feasibility design stage, whereas, as

mentioned in the introduction, long span cable-stayed

bridge structures built today or proposed for future

bridges are highly exible, undergo large displace-

ments, and should therefore be analyzed taking into

account all sources of geometric nonlinearity.

The second approach is to divide each cable into

several straight elements, as done in [30], to adequately

model the curved geometry of the cable. This would

introduce many added degrees of freedom with a con-

sequent increase in computer storage requirements and

computational cost. In addition, numerical problems

can occur and spurious results can be obtained if equi-

librium conditions, at those nodes, are not fullled.

The third approach to model cables is to use iso-

parametric elements. In [3,16,21], derivations of iso-

parametric cable elements, which include the element

Fig. 1. Catenary cable element.

R. Karoumi / Computers and Structures 71 (1999) 397412 399

curvature, are presented. Using such elements one can

model the curved geometry of a cable with fewer el-

ements compared to using straight elements and obtain

a better convergence [3]. However, those elements are

stier and require numerical integration to formulate

the element stiness matrix [3].

The alternative approach presented in this paper is

based on exact analytical expressions for the elastic

catenary. In contrast to other modeling techniques

mentioned above, each cable may be represented by a

single two-node catenary element, which exactly con-

siders the curved geometry of the cable, making this

method very attractive for static response calculations.

Even if each cable must be divided into several caten-

ary cable elements, to include cable modes of vibration

in the dynamic analysis or external loads acting

between cable ends, the author still believes that this

approach is more ecient to adopt. This is mainly

because fewer internal nodes need to be dened for

each cable in the model. Thus, the main advantages of

the proposed cable element are the reduction of

degrees of freedom, the simplicity of nding the dead

load geometry of the cable system, the exact treatment

of cable sag, the exact treatment of cable weight as it

is included in the equations used for element formu-

lation, and the simplicity of including the eect of pre-

tension of the cable by simply giving the unstressed

cable length.

2.1.1. Cable element formulation

The procedure presented in this section determines

the complete geometry of the cable, the cable element

internal force vector, and its tangent stiness matrix

from a given unstressed cable length and given pos-

itions of the ends of the cable.

Consider an elastic cable element, stretched in the

vertical plane, with an unstressed length L

u

, modulus

of elasticity E, cross section area A, and weight per

unit length w, as shown in Fig. 1. The exact relations

between the element projections and cable force com-

ponents at the ends of the element are [25]:

L

x

= P

1

_

L

u

EA

1

w

ln

P

4

T

j

T

i

P

2

_

(2)

L

y

=

1

2EAw

(T

2

j

T

2

i

)

T

j

T

i

w

(3)

where T

i

and T

j

are the cable tension at the two nodes

of the element. For the above expressions it is assumed

that the cable is perfectly exible and Hooke's law is

applicable to the cable material. The expressions above

for L

x

and L

y

may be written, in terms of the end

forces P

1

and P

2

only, as:

L

x

= L

x

(P

1

,P

2

); L

y

= L

y

(P

1

,P

2

) (4)

because P

1

, P

2

, P

3

, P

4

, T

i

and T

j

are related by the fol-

lowing equations:

P

4

= wL

u

P

2

; P

3

= P

1

(5)

T

i

=

P

2

1

P

2

2

_

; T

j

=

P

2

3

P

2

4

_

(6)

Dierentiating Eq. (4) and rewriting the results using

matrix notation gives:

dL

x

=

@L

x

@P

1

dP

1

@L

x

@P

2

dP

2

;

dL

y

=

@L

y

@P

1

dP

1

@L

y

@P

2

dP

2

(7)

_

dL

x

dL

y

_

=

_

_

_

_

_

@L

x

@P

1

@L

x

@P

2

@L

y

@P

1

@L

y

@P

2

_

_

_

dP

1

dP

2

_

= F

_

dP

1

dP

2

_

(8)

where F is the incremental exibility matrix. The sti-

ness matrix K is given by the inverse of F as:

K = F

1

=

_

k

1

k

2

k

3

k

4

_

(9)

The tangent stiness matrix K

t

and the corresponding

internal force vector p for the cable element can now

be obtained in terms of the four nodal degrees of free-

dom as (noting that k

2

=k

3

):

K

t

=

_

_

_

_

k

1

k

2

k

1

k

2

k

4

k

2

k

4

k

1

k

2

sym: k

4

_

_

; p =

_

_

P

1

P

2

P

3

P

4

_

_

(10)

The element tangent stiness matrix K

t

relates the

incremental element nodal force vector {DP

1

, DP

2

,

DP

3

, DP

4

}

T

to the incremental element nodal displace-

ment vector {Du

1

, Du

2

, Du

3

, Du

4

}

T

. The Maple soft-

ware package for symbolic computations [27] was used

to perform the above mentioned operations and pro-

duce the necessary Fortran code. This Maple pro-

cedure is listed in Appendix A. However, if this

package is not available the following expressions,

obtained by derivation of Eq. (4), may be used to

evaluate the matrices K, K

t

, and p:

k

1

=

1

det F

_

L

u

EA

1

w

_

P

4

T

j

P

2

T

i

__

(11)

k

2

= k

3

=

1

det F

_

P

1

w

_

1

T

j

1

T

i

__

(12)

R. Karoumi / Computers and Structures 71 (1999) 397412 400

k

4

=

1

det F

_

L

x

P

1

1

w

_

P

4

T

j

P

2

T

i

__

(13)

det

F =

_

L

u

EA

1

w

_

P

4

T

j

P

2

T

i

___

L

x

P

1

1

w

_

P

4

T

j

P

2

T

i

__

_

P

1

w

_

1

T

j

1

T

i

__

2

(14)

To evaluate the tangent stiness matrix K

t

, the end

forces P

1

and P

2

must be determined rst. Those

forces are adopted as the redundant forces and are

determined from given positions of cable end nodes,

using an iterative stiness procedure. This procedure

requires starting values for the redundant forces. Based

on the well-known catenary relationships the following

expressions will be used for the starting values [25]:

P

1

=

wL

x

2l

; P

2

=

w

2

_

L

y

cosh l

sinh l

L

u

_

(15)

where

l =

3

_

L

2

u

L

2

y

L

2

x

1

_

_

(16)

In cases where Eq. (16) cannot be used because the

unstressed cable length is less than the chord length, a

conservative value of 0.2 for l is assumed [25].

Another diculty arises in Eq. (16) for vertical cables.

In that case an arbitrary large value of 10

6

for l is

used. Using Eqs. (5) and (6), new cable projections

corresponding to the assumed end forces P

1

and P

2

are now determined directly from Eqs. (2) and (3) and

the misclosure vector {DL

x

, DL

y

}

T

is evaluated as the

positions of the end nodes are given. Corrections to

the assumed end forces can now be made using the

computed misclosure vector as:

_

DP

1

DP

2

_

= K

_

DL

x

DL

y

_

;

_

P

1

P

2

_

i1

=

_

P

1

P

2

_

i

_

DP

1

DP

2

_

(17)

where the stiness matrix K is given in Eq. (9) and i is

the iteration number. For the present study, this iter-

ation process continued until DL

x

and DL

y

are less

than 110

5

. As will be demonstrated later in this

paper, this iterative procedure converges very rapidly.

To determine the unstressed cable length, L

u

, for

cases where the initial cable tension is known instead,

a similar iteration procedure can be adopted. A start-

ing value for the unstressed cable length is assumed,

e.g. equal to the cable chord length, and cable end

forces P

1

and P

2

are computed using the iterative pro-

cedure described above. Using Eq. (6), cable tension

can now be computed. This is then compared with the

given initial tension to obtain a better approximation

for L

u

for the next iteration step.

If the complete geometry of the cable is to be deter-

mined, coordinates for a number of points along the

cable must be computed. This is very simple because

P

1

and P

2

are now known, so Eqs. (2) and (3) can be

used to compute the coordinates of any new point

along the cable by simply replacing L

u

by any fraction

of L

u

.

For the frequency analysis, mass discretization is

simply done by static lumping of the element mass at

both ends giving the following lumped mass matrix (r

is the mass density of the cable element):

M =

rAL

u

2

_

_

_

_

1 0 0 0

0 1 0 0

0 0 1 0

0 0 0 1

_

_

(18)

2.1.2. Analytical verication

A cable hanging under its own weight and subjected

to a tensile force at both ends along its chord, as

shown in Fig. 2, was studied to verify the cable el-

ement and the analysis procedure described in Section

2.1.1. This problem was earlier studied in [16] using

isoparametric cable elements and the published results

can now be compared to results obtained here.

A cable with an unstressed length L

u

=312.7 m,

modulus of elasticity E=1.3110

11

N/m

2

, cross sec-

tion area A=5.48 10

4

m

2

, and weight per unit

length w=46.11 N/m, was studied using three dier-

ent models. For the three models: the cable was

Fig. 2. Cable under its own weight subjected to tensile force at both ends.

R. Karoumi / Computers and Structures 71 (1999) 397412 401

replaced by one catenary cable element, one bar el-

ement with an equivalent modulus of elasticity, and by

20 beam elements with negligible moment of inertia.

The beam element used is described in the next sec-

tion.

To span the distance of 304.8 m, using a cable with

the above given properties, a horizontal force of

T

o

=1.7794 10

4

N was needed at both ends. This

force gave a mid point cable sag of 30.48 m and was

adopted as the initial force when calculating the curves

in Fig. 3.

Using the dierent models, the sag and the longi-

tudinal displacement along the chord of the cable were

determined for dierent values of the tensile force T

and the results are plotted in Fig. 3. Good agreement

is observed when comparing the curves, in Fig. 3, for

the proposed catenary cable element with those for the

isoparametric cable element presented in [16]. In Fig.

3(a), a signicant dierence can be observed when

comparing the one bar equivalent modulus curve with

the proposed catenary cable element curve. This dier-

ence is ascribed to the fact that the equivalent modulus

approach accounts for the sag eect but does not

account for the stiening eect due to large displace-

Fig. 3. Response of the cable dened in Fig. 2.

R. Karoumi / Computers and Structures 71 (1999) 397412 402

ments [16]. This leads to a softer cable model. Fig. 3

shows also that the replacement of the curved cable by

several beam elements with negligible exural stiness

can give acceptable results. As the number of beam el-

ements increases and the moment of inertia decreases,

the results should converge to those of the catenary

cable element model. One should only bear in mind

that replacing the cables by several straight elements

will give a stier structural model and consequently an

underestimation of the displacements.

The results from this simple numerical experiment

provide condence in the application of the proposed

catenary cable element for nonlinear modeling of cable

supported bridges.

2.2. Modeling of bridge deck and pylons

The pylons and the bridge deckgirder or stiening

girder as it is also calledare modeled using beam el-

ements able to resist bending, shear and axial forces.

For the present study, the simplest 2D beam element

introduced in [31] is adopted and the treatment given

there will be followed below when deriving the element

matrices. This nite element is developed following the

total Lagrangian approach and using a linear interp-

olation scheme for the displacement components.

Previous studies, reported in [31], have shown that the

element is ecient and accurate. This element is also

chosen because it can handle large displacements and

shear deformations and because it is very simple to

formulate the element matrices.

Referring to Fig. 4, the current deformed congur-

ation of the beam axis is described by a regular curve

dened by the position vector:

r

o

(x) = [x u(x)]i w(x)j (19)

where the abscissa x$ [0, L] is measured on the

straight reference conguration of the beam, u(x),

w(x) represent the axial and transversal displacement

components, and i and j are unit axis vectors. By intro-

ducing the angle y(x) as the rotation of the cross sec-

tions (S') in the deformed conguration, the unit

vectors orthogonal and parallel to the cross sections

for each point on the deformed beam are obtained as:

a(x) = cos yi sin yj; b(x) = sin yi cos yj (20)

Further, dening the deformation measures E, g, k

according to:

r

o,x

=

dr

o

dx

= (1 E)a gb; k =

dy

d x

= y

,x

(21)

and using Eqs. (1920), the following expressions are

obtained:

E = (1 u

,x

)cos y w

,x

sin y 1 (22)

g = w

,x

cos y (1 u

,x

)sin y (23)

k = y

,x

(24)

Fig. 4. Deformed and undeformed conguration of the beam element.

R. Karoumi / Computers and Structures 71 (1999) 397412 403

If the constitutive relations are assumed as linear, the

strain energy can be written as:

P

i

(u) =

1

2

_

L

0

(EAE

2

GAg

2

EIk

2

) d x (25)

where EA, GA and EI represent the axial, shear and

exural rigidities. For u, w and y a linear interpolation

scheme is used according to:

u = h

i

(x)q

i

h

j

(x)q

j

(26)

where u

T

={u, w, y }, q

T

i

={u

1

, u

2

, u

3

} and q

T

j

={u

4

, u

5

,

u

6

} contain the corresponding values of the displace-

ments at the two nodes of the element, and h

i

(x) =

1 x/L; h

j

(x) =x/L are the interpolation functions.

Finally, the expressions for the internal force vector

p and the element tangent stiness matrix K

t

are

obtained through successive dierentiation of the ex-

pression for the strain energy according to:

p =

@P

i

@q

; K

t

=

@p

@q

=

@

2

P

i

@q

2

(27)

where q is the nodal displacement vector {u

1

, u

2

, u

3

, u

4

,

u

5

, u

6

}

T

. The Maple procedure which performs the

above mentioned operations and produces the necess-

ary Fortran code for p and K

t

, is listed in Appendix A.

The kinetic energy is expressed as the integral over

the volume V:

P

k

=

1

2

_

V

r r(x)

T

r(x)dV (28)

where r is the mass density and r (x) represents the vel-

ocity in a general point of the beam. The position of

this point is dened by the vector r(x), as shown in

Fig. 4. For this element, the nal expression for the

kinetic energy becomes [40]:

P

k

=

r

2

_

L

0

A_ u(x)

2

dx

r

2

_

L

0

A _ w(x)

2

dx

r

2

_

L

0

I

_

y(x)

2

dx

(29)

Using the interpolation functions, as in Eq. (26), the

kinetic energy is written as a function of the velocity

components in the nodal degrees of freedom of the el-

ement. From the resulting expression for the kinetic

energy, the consistent element mass matrix is evaluated

as:

M =

@

2

P

k

@ q

2

=

rL

6

_

_

_

_

_

_

_

_

2A 0 0 A 0 0

0 2A 0 0 A 0

0 0 2I 0 0 I

A 0 0 2A 0 0

0 A 0 0 2A 0

0 0 I 0 0 2I

_

_

(30)

For more details concerning the formulation of the

kinetic energy and mass matrix and the performance

of this element in dynamic problems, the reader is

referred to [40,41].

3. The nonlinear analysis procedure

For a nonlinear structural system, the stiness

matrix K

t

is a function of nodal displacements and el-

ement forces, and therefore the matrix K

t

should be

reformulated as the structure deforms. There are sev-

eral procedures for solving the nonlinear nite element

equations and the most frequently used are the

NewtonRaphson iteration schemes [4,21,32]. In the

present study, an incremental/iterative procedure using

full NewtonRaphson iterations is adopted. This pro-

cedure is generally expected to give quadratic conver-

gence [32]. For the frequency analysis, the eigenvalue

problem of the system is solved based on the utiliz-

ation of the tangent stiness matrix K

t

of the bridge in

the dead load deformed state.

The nonlinear nite element code for the static and

dynamic analysis of cable supported structures has

been developed using Matlab [33].

4. Numerical examples

Two numerical examples are presented to demon-

strate the applicability of the catenary cable element

for modeling cables in cable supported structures. In

the rst example the erection procedure for the Great

Belt suspension bridge girder sections was simulated

and in the second example the nonlinear behavior of a

medium-long symmetric cable-stayed bridge was stu-

died. Eigenfrequency analyses were also conducted for

both examples. To illustrate the eciency of the pre-

sented method, the results obtained are compared to

those reported by other researchers.

4.1. Erection of the Great Belt suspension bridge

In this numerical example, the behavior of the Great

Belt suspension bridge during girder erection was stu-

died and a frequency analysis for the completed bridge

was also conducted using the cable and beam elements

described earlier.

The Great Belt (Storeblt) suspension bridge in

Denmark has, with its 1624 m main span, the second

largest span in the world (Akashi Kaikyo suspension

bridge in Japan holds currently the world record with

a main span length of 1990 m. Both suspension bridges

were opened for trac in 1998). The bridge deck is a

31 m wide and 4 m deep steel box. This girder is con-

tinuous over the full cable supported length of 2694 m,

R. Karoumi / Computers and Structures 71 (1999) 397412 404

i.e. without expansion joints at the pylons. Like many

other modern suspension bridges, the girder section is

streamlined (almost wing shaped) to resist strong wind

action. The two main cables, each including a total of

18,648 high strength galvanized steel wires 5.38 mm in

diameter with a nal diameter of 0.85 m, were erected

in the autumn of 1996 by the air-spinning method [1].

Much the same method was used for suspension

bridges more than 100 years ago, e.g. for the Brooklyn

Bridge in New York dating from 1883. To minimize

deections under asymmetric trac load, the main

cables are xed to the stiening girder through rigid

clamps at mid span. The ratio of cable sag to main

span length was chosen to be 1/9, as this was found to

be economically favorable. This gives higher pylons

than usual and therefore a more exible structure. The

total height of the concrete pylons, including cable and

cable saddle, is approximately 258 m.

Erection of a suspension bridge involves many chal-

lenging problems, especially aerodynamic stability pro-

blems, which relate to the fact that the bridge structure

is incomplete, thus various structural components do

not receive or render the kind of support intended in

the complete structure. The erection of the girder may

proceed in a number of dierent ways [3436]. For the

analysis presented in this paper it was assumed that

the erection proceeded simultaneously from mid span

and anchor blocks towards the pylons. To study the

erection of the Great Belt suspension bridge and calcu-

late the initial prole for the free hanging cables, i.e.

the initial cable lengths, the cable sag at mid span, and

the pylon tops horizontal displacement, a simple bridge

model consisting of 126 elements, 89 nodes and a total

of 215 active degrees of freedom, was used. The bridge

geometry shown in Fig. 5 and the properties given in

Table 1 were taken from [34,37]. The section properties

for the pylons were assumed by the author to give the

rst and second pylon frequencies 0.147 and 0.803 Hz,

which are acceptable when compared to the measured

pylon frequencies reported in [38]. In the bridge model,

the girder was assumed to be pinned at the ends, i.e.

only rotations were allowed, and every third hanger

from the original bridge was included and modeled

using catenary cable elements. The main cables were

assumed to be xed at the pylon tops and the pylons

were rigidly xed to the piers. Further, the shear mod-

ulus of all beam elements in the model was evaluated

as G=E/2(1+n ); n =0.3. To simplify the data input

process, all internal cable nodes were vertically posi-

tioned at the same level as the girder, and the congur-

ation of the main cable under dead load was

determined accurately, during analysis, after few iter-

ations.

To start the analysis, the initial side span and main

span cable lengths were determined using a trial and

error procedure. Thus the initial cable lengths were

estimated and the nal dead load prole, i.e. cable sag

at mid span and pylon top displacements, were deter-

mined and compared with the desired dead load prole

shown in Fig. 5. The estimated values were then

improved and the calculation was repeated until the

required dead load prole was obtained. It was found

that if the initial lengths of the side span and main

span cables were chosen as 564.8 and 1672.7 m, the

Fig. 5. Geometry of the Great Belt suspension bridge.

Table 1

Parameters for the model of the Great Belt suspension bridge

E (N/m

2

) A (m

2

) I (m

4

) w (t/m)

Girder (314 m) 2.110

11

1.00 3.32 14.78

Pylons, 075.5 m 0.410

11

237.5 2750 290

Pylons, 75.5257.6 m 0.410

11

2(32.5, 30, 25) 2(275, 200, 150) 2(78, 72, 60)

Cable side spans 2.110

11

20.41 23.45

Cable main span 2.110

11

20.40 23.36

Hangers 2.110

11

20.025

a

a

Mass of hangers and clamps is considered distributed uniformly along the main cable and included in the cable mass.

R. Karoumi / Computers and Structures 71 (1999) 397412 405

calculated mid span cable sag and pylon tops horizon-

tal displacements would be 180.09 and 0.04 m. Those

initial cable lengths were therefore considered to be

good enough and were used for all the following

results presented for this example.

When the initial cable lengths were known, dierent

erection stages were analyzed and the results are

plotted in Fig. 6. Studying this gure one can notice

that, to arrive at the desired dead load prole, the

pylon tops must be displaced about 0.85 m outwards

and the cable sag should be about 173 m, for 0%

erected girder. This pylon top displacement is needed

to counteract the displacement caused by the

elongation of the side span main cable during the sub-

sequent erection of the girder. Consequently, to com-

pensate for the later erection of the girder, the saddles

at the pylon tops must therefore, prior to cable erec-

tion, be horizontally displaced in relation to the verti-

cal pylon axis. This is done either by displacing the

saddles in relation to the pylon tops or by pulling back

the pylons with so called tie-back cables or a combi-

nation of the two methods [36]. It is therefore necess-

ary to specify this displacement of the saddles to arrive

at vertical pylons with zero bending in the nal dead

load condition. During the constructing of the Great

Belt suspension bridge, tie-back cables running from

each pylon top to the nearest anchor block were used,

pulling back each pylon 1.24 m [37] prior to main

cable erection. When the main cables were erected and

the tie-back cables were dismantled, the pylon tops

Fig. 6. Cable sag variation (a) and horizontal displacement of pylon tops (b) during erection of the bridge girder.

R. Karoumi / Computers and Structures 71 (1999) 397412 406

moved back about 0.20 m [37]. Thus, the remaining

displacement before erecting the girder was about 1 m.

Acceptable agreement is found, according to the

author's opinion, when comparing this value with the

one obtained from the present analysis, i.e. 0.85 m. It

is worth noting that the aim of this study and the

essential goal of this example was to check the e-

ciency and applicability of the presented elements for

modeling cable supported bridges. For this reason

some simplications and assumptions were made when

modeling the bridge structure and not much emphasis

was put on using the exact properties etc. for each

bridge member. This is believed to be the major expla-

nation for the dierences in the results.

Frequency analysis was also conducted for the com-

pleted bridge and the rst three natural frequencies

and mode shapes are given in Fig. 7. In [34,35], ana-

lytical frequency results from a 3D nite element

model and results from a 1:200 scale aeroelastic bridge

model, made for wind tunnel testing, are presented.

These results are also given in Fig. 7 within brackets

and, as can be seen, the agreement is very good when

comparing with the result obtained from the present

analysis.

The CPU time used by the MATLAB process, to

nd the tangent stiness matrix at the dead load

deformed state and to solve the system eigenvalue pro-

blem determining all 215 modes of vibration, was

about 200 s. The calculations were performed on a

Pentium Pro 200 MHz system.

4.2. Nonlinear behavior of a fan-shaped cable-stayed

bridge

A 2D model of the cable-stayed bridge described in

[4] was adopted for this investigation. The bridge geo-

metry is shown in Fig. 8 and the properties are given

in Table 2. This bridge is similar in conguration to an

Fig. 7. Natural frequencies and mode shapes for the lowest three vertical bending modes of vibration. Values inside brackets are

reported in [35].

Fig. 8. Geometry of the cable-stayed bridge studied in example 2.

R. Karoumi / Computers and Structures 71 (1999) 397412 407

existing bridge in Japan (The Meiko-Nishi Bridge in

Nagoya) with a few modications in dimension. The

static and dynamic behavior of this bridge has been

studied earlier by several other investigators [4,13,39].

For the model, it was assumed that the girder was

pinned at the ends, i.e. only rotations were allowed,

and it was connected to the pylons by vertical links.

The pylons were assumed to be rigidly xed to the

piers and all cables were assumed xed to the pylons

and to the girder at their joints of attachment.

Further, the shear modulus of all beam elements in the

model was evaluated as G=E/2(1+n ); n =0.3. The

simplest model analyzed in this example, i.e. the model

with one element per cable, was composed of 66 el-

ements and 43 nodal points.

Fig. 9 shows the nonlinear behavior of the model

under static dead load, described in terms of the verti-

cal displacement at the center of the bridge girder and

the tension in cable 12 and 13. Examining this gure, a

hardening characteristic with respect to the applied

load is apparent. It is also evident that at the start

there is a signicant nonlinear behavior during the sta-

tic application of the dead load. Thus, a nonlinear sta-

tic analysis under dead load is essential to arrive at the

deformed dead load tangent stiness matrix. To the

author's knowledge, this highly nonlinear rst part of

the curve in Fig. 9a has not been presented in any of

the previous studies. For this cable-stayed bridge with

modest main span length, as the nonlinearity is not so

strong above this dead load equilibrium point, one can

assume that this bridge behaves as a linear system,

when aected by live static and dynamic loads, starting

from this dead load deformed state. This means that

inuence lines and superposition technique can be used

in the design process. However, as the span length

increases this nonlinearity will get more pronounced [4]

and linear analysis will no longer be adequate.

For the frequency analysis, to include cable motions,

natural frequencies were also determined replacing

each stay cable by 3, 5 and 7 catenary cable elements.

This was easily done as the preprocessor code devel-

oped can automatically rene the model if it is

requested by the user. For the simplest model, i.e. the

model with one element per cable, the resulting modes

of vibration only include the vibrating girder and

pylons. Thus, cable modes and the dynamic interaction

between the vibrating cables and the bridge were disre-

garded. For the ner models, pure cable modes, i.e.

additional new mode shapes characterized only by

vibrating cables, were obtained between those basic

bending modes. Moreover, it is evident that cable

motions are associated with every mode of vibration,

as can be noticed in Fig. 10. For the four alternative

models, Table 3 presents a comparative frequency

study of the rst 10 vertical bending modes of vi-

bration. The order in which these modes appear is

given inside brackets.

Satisfactory agreement is found when comparing the

results from the static and frequency analysis presented

here with those reported in [4,13,39]. The disagreement

in the frequency results shown in Fig. 10 is believed to

be due to the fact that the catenary cable element used

in the present study is stier, see Fig. 3a, than the one

bar element with an equivalent modulus used in [4,39].

Moreover, the girder and pylons were modeled in

[4,39] using conventional beam elements modied by

the stability functions and a diagonal lumped mass

matrix was adopted for all elements.

Table 2

Parameters for the cable-stayed bridge model dened in Fig. 8

E (N/m

2

) A (m

2

) I (m

4

) w (t/m)

Girder 2.010

11

0.93 0.26 19.64

a

Girder, central part 2.010

11

1.11 1.29 19.64

a

Pylons above deck level 2.810

10

13.01 34.52 30.65

Pylons below deck level 2.810

10

18.58 86.31 43.78

Links, deck to pylons 2.010

11

0.56 0.10 4.38

Cable no. E (N/m

2

) A (m

2

) L

u

(m) w (t/m)

1, 24 2.010

11

0.0362 158.13 0.398

2, 11, 14, 23 2.010

11

0.0232 134.66 0.255

3, 10, 15, 22 2.010

11

0.0204 111.64 0.225

4, 9, 16, 21 2.010

11

0.0176 89.43 0.194

5, 8, 17, 20 2.010

11

0.0139 68.80 0.153

6, 7, 18, 19 2.010

11

0.0113 51.69 0.125

12, 13 2.010

11

0.0372 158.12 0.409

a

Including weight of cross beams.

R. Karoumi / Computers and Structures 71 (1999) 397412 408

For the simplest model with a total of 119 active

degrees of freedom, the CPU time used by the

MATLAB process, to nd the tangent stiness matrix

at the dead load deformed state and to solve the sys-

tem eigenvalue problem determining all 119 modes of

vibration, was about 15 s. The calculations were per-

formed on a Pentium Pro 200 MHz system.

5. Conclusions

The paper has presented a method for modeling

cable supported bridges for nonlinear nite element

analysis. A two-node catenary cable element was

adopted for modeling the cables and a beam element

for modeling the bridge deck and the pylons. This

study has shown that the adopted elements are accu-

rate and ecient for nonlinear analysis of cable-stayed

and suspension bridges. It has been established that

the main advantages of the cable element are the sim-

plicity of including the eect of pretension of the cable

and the exact treatment of cable sag and cable weight.

Moreover, the iterative process adopted, to nd the in-

ternal force vector and tangent stiness matrix for the

cable element, was found to converge very rapidly.

According to the author's opinion, linear analysis

utilizing the traditional equivalent modulus approach

is not satisfactory for modern cable-stayed bridges.

Modern long span cable-stayed bridges built today or

proposed for future bridges are, as they are highly ex-

ible, subjected to large displacements. The equivalent

modulus approach however accounts only for the sag

Fig. 9. Nonlinear behavior of the cable-stayed bridge dened by Fig. 8: (a) vertical displacement; (b) cable tension.

R. Karoumi / Computers and Structures 71 (1999) 397412 409

eect and not for the stiening eect due to large dis-

placements. It is concluded that the catenary cable el-

ement is simple to formulate, accurate, and can

correctly model the geometric change of the stay cable

at any tension level. This makes the element very

attractive, especially for static response calculations,

and the author strongly recommends the use of this el-

ement. However, one drawback is when using commer-

cial nite element codes for analysis, as only few

commercial codes, e.g. ABAQUS, enable the users to

dene their own elements. This disadvantage applies

also to the one bar element equivalent modulus

approach.

It is apparent that cable supported bridges have a

hardening characteristic with respect to the applied

load. Furthermore, the highly nonlinear behavior

during the static application of the dead load requires

a nonlinear static analysis to arrive at the deformed

Table 3

Comparison of the rst 10 natural frequencies for vertical bending modes of vibration. Each cable was modeled using 1, 3, 5 and 7

catenary cable elements

Natural frequencies (Hz) and mode order

Vertical bending mode no. 1 element/cable 3 elements/cable 5 elements/cable 7 elements/cable

1 0.332 (1) 0.334 (1) 0.334 (1) 0.334 (1)

2 0.436 (2) 0.437 (2) 0.437 (2) 0.437 (2)

3 0.692 (3) 0.700 (7) 0.702 (7) 0.703 (7)

4 0.734 (4) 0.739 (8) 0.741 (8) 0.741 (8)

5 0.867 (5) 0.873 (13) 0.874 (13) 0.874 (13)

6 1.044 (6) 1.051 (18) 1.052 (18) 1.053 (18)

7 1.211 (7) 1.217 (27) 1.219 (23) 1.219 (23)

8 1.213 (8) 1.219 (28) 1.221 (24) 1.221 (24)

9 1.378 (9) 1.387 (33) 1.385 (29) 1.387 (29)

10 1.669 (10) 1.687 (42) 1.679 (38) 1.685 (38)

Fig. 10. Natural frequencies and mode shapes for the lowest three vertical bending modes of vibration. Values inside brackets are

reported in [39].

R. Karoumi / Computers and Structures 71 (1999) 397412 410

dead load tangent stiness matrix. Starting from this

dead load deformed state, a linear static and dynamic

analysis can sometimes be sucient for short and med-

ium span cable supported bridges [11,39].

Replacing each cable by several catenary cable el-

ements has demonstrated that, in addition to obtaining

new pure cable modes of vibration, cable motions are

also associated with every bending mode of vibration.

For dynamic analysis, this multi-element cable discreti-

zation should always be utilized, instead of the one-el-

ement cable discretization. This is essential in order to

include the dynamic interaction between the vibrating

cables and the bridge and to realistically predict the re-

sponse to dynamic loads such as earthquake, wind and

trac. To simplify the data input process when utiliz-

ing the multi-element cable discretization, one can start

from a straight cable conguration and during analysis

the cable conguration under its own weight is deter-

mined accurately after few iterations.

Finally, this work has only focused on two-dimen-

sional modeling of cable supported bridges. However,

the catenary cable element used in this study is also

applicable for modeling cables in other types of cable

structures [2426] such as: suspended roofs, guyed

masts, electric transmission lines, moored drilling plat-

forms, etc. Moreover, with some minor modications

of the cable element matrices this element can also be

used for modeling cables for three-dimensional analy-

sis. For such analysis, three-dimensional catenary cable

element and beam elements can be found in [25,31].

Acknowledgements

The author wishes to acknowledge Professor Ha kan

Sundquist and Dr Costin C. Pacoste at the Royal

Institute of Technology in Stockholm for many helpful

discussions. The author also wishes to thank Professor

Niels J. Gimsing at the Technical University of

Denmark, Professor Hiroshi Tanaka at the Danish

Maritime Institute, and Mr Sren Esdahl at

COWIconsult A/S, Denmark for their help on provid-

ing information on the Great Belt suspension bridge.

Appendix A

The Maple procedures used to generate the Fortran

code for the elements presented in Sections 2.1 and

2.2, are given below.

A.0.1. Cable element

# Tanget stiness matrix Kt for;

# the catenary cable element;

readlib(fortran);

with(linalg);

Ly: =1/(2+E+A+w)+(Tj U2Ti U2) +(Tj Ti)/w;

Lx: =P1+(Lu/E/A+1/w+ln((P4 +Tj)/(Ti P2)));

P3: =P1;

P4: =w+LuP2;

Ti: =sqrt(P1 U2 +P2U2);

Tj: =sqrt(P3 U2 +P4U2);

f11: =di(Lx,P1):

f12: =di(Lx,P2):

f21: =di(Ly,P1):

f22: =di(Ly,P2):

f: =matrix(2,2,[f11,f12,f21,f22]):

k: =inverse(f):

k1: =k[1,1]:

k2: =k[1,2]:

k4: =k[2,2]:

Kt: =matrix(4,4,[k1, k2,k1,k2, k2, k4,k2,k4,

k1,k2, k1, k2,k2,k4, k2, k4]):

fortran(Kt,optimized):

A.0.2. Beam element

# Internal force vector p and;

# tanget stiness matrix Kt for;

# the beam element;

readlib(fortran);

with(linalg);

ux: =(u4 u1)/L; wx: =(u5 u2)/L;

t: =(u3+u6)/2; tx: =(u6 u3)/L;

e: =(1 +ux)+cos(t) +wx+sin(t) 1;

g: =wx+cos(t) (1+ux)+sin(t);

k: =tx;

Fie: =1/2+L+E+A+e U2;

Fig: =1/2+L+G+A+g U2;

Fik: =1/2+L+E+I+kU2;

Fi: =Fie +Fig +Fik;

p: =grad(Fi,[u1,u2,u3,u4,u5,u6]);

Kt: =hessian(Fi,[u1,u2,u3,u4,u5,u6]);

fortran(p,optimized);

fortran(Kt,optimized)

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