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Mid-America Transportation Center

Computational Design Tool for Bridge Hydrodynamic Loading in Inundated Flows of Midwest Rivers

Final Report
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Researchers

  • Principal Investigator: Junke Guo (jguo2@unl.edu 402-554-3873)
  • Co-Principal Investigator: David Admiraal (dadmiraal2@unl.edu 402-472-8568)
  • Graduate Students
  • Hoayin Shan
  • Yuan Zhai
  • Hoayin Shan
  • Afzal Bushra
  • Project Status
    Complete
    About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    The 1993 and 2008 Midwest Floods showed that with weather pattern changes, the return period of extreme floods may become short. These changes threat the existing bridges over rivers. This study transfers the recent supercomputer simulation technology of inundated bridge hydrodynamics from laboratory scales to practical design scales.
    Research Objective
    The objective of the proposed research is to transfer the recent supercomputer models of bridge hydrodynamics simulations from laboratory scales to practical design scales by optimizing computing cell-sizes in terms of real bridge dimensions. In other words, in the previous study, we have validated the CFD method for laboratory measurements ; in the proposed study, we show how to apply the CFD method to practical design.
    Potential Benefits
    The results of the study will provide bridge engineers for an innovative tool to accurately estimate hydrodynamic loads when bridge decks are inundated during extreme floods.
    Abstract
    Bridges are typically designed to withstand the 100 year flood, but climate change has the potential to influence precipitation patterns and storm frequency, resulting in increased frequency of design storms in many locations. For example, a bridge pressure flow occurred on the Salt Creek, Nebraska, on June 6, 2008; two 500 year floods occurred in 1993 and 2008, separately, in the Midwest United States including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin, which resulted in a Union Pacific bridge failure by high flood waters on the Cedar River, Iowa, June Page 2 of 12 113 Nebraska Hall Lincoln, NE 68588-0530 (P) 402-472-1975 (F) 402-472-0859 matc@unl.edu 10, 2008. These events have demonstrated that when bridge decks are inundated, failure can be costly if not catastrophic. The objective of the proposed research is to transfer the recent supercomputer models of bridge inundation flows from laboratory scales to practical design scales by optimizing computing cell-sizes in terms of real bridge dimensions. The results of the proposed research will provide a tool for designing new bridges and retrofitting old ones so that they are able to withstand the forces and moments that may result from partial or complete inundation. One graduate student will be funded to collect pertinent geometry and flow data of an existing bridge and the river that it crosses; develop a 1-D flow model to predict the water surface profiles upstream and downstream of the bridge; use the computed water surface profiles to construct a 3-D computational fluid dynamics model in the vicinity of the bridge for determining drag, lift, and bridge deck moments; and optimize the methodology of establishing the computational domain so that it is easy to apply the procedure to analyze the forces and moments on other bridges.
    Project Amount
    $ 60,000
    Modal Orientation
  • Structures