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Vincent T. H. CHU

What is the difference between dry joint and wet joint in precast segmental bridges?

Dry joints have been properly used in the past in which the bridge segments are formed by match casting. The prevalence in the past is due to it lower cost and time for construction. There is no gluing material to seal up the joint. As such, leakage through the joint into the box culvert occurs from time to time and this may affect the durability of external post-tensioning tendons. Moreover, owing to the effect of seismic, temperature and creep, the joints are found to open under these conditions. Spalling of top concrete slab at bridge joint was also reported.

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In precast segmental box girder bridges, the bridge segments are usually formed by match casting. It is sometimes observed that a gap is formed between adjacent bridge segments. Why?

To enhance perfect fitting of bridge segments in precast segmental box girder bridges, segments are usually constructed by match casting so that it would not impair the serviceability and load bearing ability of the bridge. The end face of completed segment is adopted as formwork for the new segment. During the concrete hardening process, the hydration effect of new segment induces a temperature rise and develops a temperature gradient in the completed segment. Hence, the completed segment bows temporarily and the new segment sticks to this bowed shape when hardened. After match casting, the completed segment retains its original shape after cooling down while the new segment obtains the profile of bowed shape. Such bowing effect is even more significant for slender segments with large height to width ratio.
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What are the main design considerations for temporary nose in incremental launching?

There are two main design considerations for temporary nose:

(i) Maximum sagging moment
The maximum sagging moment at the point of connecting the nose to superstructure occurs when the superstructure is launched far from the pier. It is estimated to occur at about 75% of the span length.

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Which of the following methods to reduce cantilever moment is better in incremental launching, (i) temporary nose, (ii) mast or (iii) auxiliary piers?

The use of mast is an alternative to temporary nose. From practical point of view, the use of mast requires continual adjustment of forces in the guys when the superstructure is pushed forward. On the other hand, the implementation of temporary nose system does not require much attention during operation.

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Can the use of temporary nose in incremental launching method reduce the cantilever moment of superstructure to the value of inner support moment?

When the superstructure is pushed forward, a temporary nose is usually adopted at the front end of the superstructure to reduce the cantilever moment for which the central prestress is designed. The length of temporary nose is about 60-65% of bridge span.

The bending moment of self-weight for internal spans (equal span) of long bridge is -0.0833WL2
at piers and +0.0417W L2 at mid-span (W = unit weight of deck and L = span length). However, without the use of temporary nose, the bending moment in the leading pier when the deck has to cantilever from one pier to another would be -0.5WL2, which is 6 times higher than normal values at support.

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Should special design be catered for in bridge piers upon jacking up of superstructure for installation of bearings in Incremental Launching method?

After the completion of launching process, the superstructure has to be lifted up to allow for installation of bearings. This is usually achieved by means of jacks to raise 5-10mm successively at each pier.

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Central prestressing is normally required during construction in Incremental Launching method. Why?

The erection condition plays an important role to the structural design of bridges when incremental launching method is adopted.

Each section of superstructure is manufactured directly against the preceding one and after concrete hardens, the whole structure is moved forward by the length of one section. When the superstructure is launched at prefabrication area behind one of the abutments, it is continually subjected to alternating bending moments. Each section of superstructure (about 15m to 25m long) is pushed from a region of positive moment and then to a region of negative moment and this loading cycled is repeated. As such, tensile stresses occur alternately at the bottom and top portion of superstructure section. For steel, it is of equal strength in both compression and tension and it has no difficulty in handling such alternating stress during launching process. However concrete could only resist small tensile stresses and therefore, central prestressing is carried out to reduce the tensile stress to acceptable levels.

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What is the purpose of leveling pad in bridge bearing?

Bridge bearings should be installed to lie horizontally on bridge piers and columns so that it would not induce eccentricity forces on substructure. However, the bridge superstructure requires different longitudinal and transverse level and gradient in order to keep in line with the geometry of the road.

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