## Why do some engineers prefer to use neoprene instead of natural rubber in elastomeric bearings?

Some engineers may choose to design elastomeric bearings to sit on the piers without a connection. The bearing is held in place by frictional resistance only. Paraffin used in natural rubber would bleed out and result in significant decrease in friction. As such, elastomeric bearings would slip away and walk out from their original locations. To solve this problem, neoprene, instead of natural rubber, is used as elastomer because paraffin is absent in neoprene bearings.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

## In the design of elastomeric bearings, why are steel plates inserted inside the bearings?

For elastomeric bearing to function as a soft spring, the bearing should be allowed for bulging laterally and the compression stiffness can be increased by limiting the amount of lateral bulging. To increase the compression stiffness of elastomeric bearings, metal plates are inserted.

After the addition of steel plates, the freedom to bulge is restricted and the deflection is reduced when compared with bearings without any steel plates under the same load. Tensile stresses are induced in these steel plates during their action in limiting the bulging of the elastomer. This in turn would limit the thickness of the steel plates.

However, the presence of metal plates does not affect the shear stiffness of the elastomeric bearings.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

## How to determine the size of elastomeric bearings?

For elastomeric bearing, the vertical load is resisted by its compression while shear resistance of the bearing controls the horizontal movements.

The design of elastomeric bearings is based on striking a balance between the provision of sufficient stiffness to resist high compressive force and the flexibility to allow for translation and rotation movement.

The cross sectional area is normally determined by the allowable pressure on the bearing support. Sometimes, the plan area of bearings is controlled by the maximum allowable compressive stress arising from the consideration of delamination of elastomer from steel plates. In addition, the size of elastomeric bearings is also influenced by considering the separation between the structure and the edge of bearing which may occur in rotation because tensile stresses deriving from separation may cause delamination. The thickness of bearings is designed based on the limitation of its horizontal stiffness and is controlled by movement requirements. The shear strain should be less than a certain limit to avoid the occurrence of rolling over and fatigue damage. The vertical stiffness of bearings is obtained by inserting sufficient number of steel plates.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

## What is the purpose of dowel bar in elastomeric bearing?

Elastomeric bearing is normally classified into two types: fixed and free. For fixed types, the bridge deck is permitted only to rotate and the horizontal movements of the deck are restrained. On the other hand, for free types the deck can move horizontally and rotate. To achieve fixity, dowels are adopted to pass from bridge deck to abutment. Alternatively, in case there is limitation in space, holes are formed in the elastomeric bearings where anchor dowels are inserted through these holes. It is intended to prevent the “walking” of the bearing during its operation.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

## What is the purpose of dimples in PTFE in bridge bearings?

PTFE is a flurocarbon polymer which possesses good chemical resistance and can function in a wide range of temperature. The most important characteristic of this material is its low coefficient of friction. PTFE has the lowest coefficients of static and dynamic friction of any solid with absence of stick-slip movement. The coefficient of friction is found to decrease with an increase in compressive stress. However, PTFE do have some demerits like high thermal expansion and low compressive strength.

In designing the complementary contact plate with PTFE sliding surface, stainless steel plates are normally selected where the plates should be larger than PTFE surface to allow movement without exposing the PTFE. Moreover, it is recommended that the stainless steel surface be positioned on top of the PTFE surface to avoid contamination by possible accumulation of dirt and rubbish on the larger lower plates. Lubricants are sometimes introduced to reduce the friction between the PTFE surface and the upper stainless steel plate. Dimples are designed on PTFE surfaces to act as reservoirs for lubricant and these reservoirs are uniformly distributed over the surface of PTFE and normally they cover about 20%-30% of the
surface area. Hence, the PTFE may be designed with dimples to avoid the lubricant from squeezing out under repeated translation movements.

This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

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