Historically, most large bridges are “overdesigned” with substantial margins of safety built in to compensate for unknown forces that could affect their integrity over time. For the reliability, maintenance, and economic viability of the bridges of the future, better performance from the ground up is critical.
Associate Professor Daniel Linzell and his research group in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Penn State University employ advanced Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to create computer models for studying the structural behavior of bridges. Using this technology, Linzell and his graduate students are able to focus in on potential trouble spots in individual bridges, helping civil engineers anticipate problems and make adjustments before construction begins. The simulation results can also be used to make decisions about maintenance requirements. Read more.
The software has other application potential in the field of bridge analysis besides designing and testing new structures, according to SIMULIA senior engineer Deepak Datye. “Abaqus can be used to evaluate the residual life of a damaged structure that is still standing but may be cracked. And it can also be used for forensic purposes, to help pinpoint the reason for a collapse.”