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Abutments

Faculty of Civil Engineering, UTM

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 1

Subtructures

Substructures may be classified as ‘end

supports’ or ‘intermediate supports’, according to

their position along a bridge.

End supports can be abutment walls with

associated wing walls for closed side spans, and

either skeleton abutments or bank seats for

bridges with open side spans.

Intermediate supports are the piers and columns

in all bridges with more than one span.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 2

Bridge Abutments

Current practice is to make decks integral with

the abutments. The objective is to avoid the use

of joints over abutments and piers.

Expansion joints are prone to leak and allow the

ingress of corrosion agents into the bridge deck

and substructure.

In general all bridges are made continuous over

intermediate supports and decks under 6m long

with skews not exceeding 30° are made integral

with their abutments.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 3

Bridge Abutments

Usually the narrow bridge is cheaper in the open abutment form and

the wide bridge is cheaper in the solid abutment form. The exact

transition point between the two types depends very much on the

geometry and the site of the particular bridge.

In most cases the open abutment solution has a better appearance

and is less intrusive on the general flow of the ground contours and

for these reasons is to be preferred.

It is the cost of the wing walls when related to the deck costs which

swings the balance of cost in favour of the solid abutment solution

for wider bridges.

However the wider bridges with solid abutments produce a tunneling

effect and costs have to be considered in conjunction with the

proper functioning of the structure where fast traffic is passing

beneath.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 4

Bridge Abutments

Solid abutments for narrow bridges should only be

adopted where the open abutment solution is not

possible. In the case of wide bridges the open abutment

solution is to be preferred, but there are many cases

where economy must be the overriding consideration.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 5

Open Abutments

A bridge constructed at

existing ground level to

span across a road in

cutting may need only

nominal bank seats if

good foundation strata

are available at shallow

depths. This may give

rise to problems where

negative reactions are

likely to develop.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 6

Open Abutments

Spill-through or skeleton

abutments are suitable

where spread footings

are needed at a level well

below a bank seat.

It is often advantageous

to design a footing to

offset the foundations in

relation to the bearings,

because the permanent

horizontal loading shifts

the reaction.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 7

Various Types of Open Abutments

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 8

Piled Foundation

the bank seat level, piled foundations have to be used.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 9

Wall Abutments

Mass concrete is

Mass economic for small

Concrete heights, such as where

headroom is less than

that needed for vehicular

traffic.

Cantilever is simple to

form but demanding high

Cantilever concentration of

reinforcement in the stem

as height increases

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 10

Wall Abutments

weight of reinforcement compared with cantilever, but

calls for more complex shuttering.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 11

Hollow Abutment

construction offers advantages over heavy

counterfort construction.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 12

Other Types of Wall Abutments

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 13

Choice of Abutments

Wall Abutments

These are normally designed as a reinforced concrete

cantilever fixed along the base slab.

Strutted abutments may be used for square bridges up

to 12m span, where advantage is taken of the

propping action of the deck to relieve the foundation

pressure under the toe of the footing.

Backfilling to these walls is generally selected granular

material and earth pressures are often assessed on

the basis of an equivalent fluid density.

Typical details :

a) Wall height – from 5m to 9m

b) Wall thickness – 0.7m to 1.1m

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 14

Choice of Abutments

Skeleton Abutments

This type of end support consists of transverse cill beam across

one or more buried columns carrying the loads down to a base. It

can be used where the road over a bridge is on embankment and

a suitable foundation can be obtained near the previous existing

ground level.

Typical details :

Columns spaced at 3.5m center and directly under deck bearings

where possible to avoid large bending moments in the cill beam.

Columns placed at ends of the cill beam since wing walls are

cantilevered horizontally from each end.

The rear face of a column is usually vertical and the front face

battered at 1:6 since each column is designed to act as a vertical

cantilever from the continuous based slab and horizontal loads

have a large effect.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 15

Choice of Abutments

Bank Seats

level, then a bank seat may be sited at ground level

after either a s a simple base or carried on piles.

A bank seat carried on piles driven through fill is

usually preferable to a skeleton abutment carried on

piles at a lower level.

The height of a bank seat is often only 2-4 metres so

that it is possible to employ mass concrete wall

sections.

Where the foundation level is above the level of a

nearby open surface, a slip circle analysis should be

made to check the stability of the bank slope.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 16

Choice of Abutments

Wing Walls

These walls are included at all end supports in order to

contain the immediate areas of back-fill. There are two

basic types to be considered and the choice is normally

made on purely structural or economic reasons.

Horizontal cantilevered wall – this type is very economic

since it requires a minimum amount of material and saves

on excavation for additional footings.

Vertical cantilever free-standing wall – this type is similar

to a normal retaining wall except that horizontal cantilever

extensions are often used. They are suitable beyond the

lengths and skew angles at which horizontal cantilevered

walls become unpractical. The main disadvantage is the

large height of these walls and the amount of buried

structure which causes the cost to become excessive.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 17

Wing Walls

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 18

Wing Walls

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 19

Wing Walls

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 20

Modes of Failure

The stability of an abutment should be

checked for several modes of failure :

Sliding failure

Overturning

Foundation yield

Slip Circle

Structural failure

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 21

Abutments – Modes of Failure

Sliding Failure

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 22

Abutments – Modes of Failure

Sliding Failure

Resisted by friction in granular soils or adhesion

in cohesive soils, aided by the passive resistance

of the soil in front of the toe.

If public utilities are to install services in front of

the wall, the location or depth of the trenches may

invalidate the passive resistance.

Sliding resistance can be increased by

incorporating a heel below the foundations. Factor

of safety = 2.0 considering passive resistance.

JKR use f.o.s = 1.5 not considering passive

resistance.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 23

Abutments – Modes of Failure

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 24

Abutments – Modes of Failure

Foundation yield (bearing failure) –

produces similar effect to overturning

Overturning – In practice overturning is

usually associated with some yielding of

the foundation, since this produces very

high pressures under the front of the

footing.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 25

Abutments – Modes of Failure

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 26

Abutments – Modes of Failure

Slip Circle – Only a problem in cohesive soils.

stem of the footing if an inadequate section is

provided (design fault). Factor of safety for

reinforcement is provided in code.

Substructure : nominal f.o.s. = 1.0 (piles). Use

partial safety factors for material.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 27

Basic Components of Abutment

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 28

Forces on an Abutment

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 29

Forces on an Abutment

Dead load due to the superstructure. Proper

dead load include self-weight of beams and

deck. Superimposed dead load include

premix, surfacing, services and railings etc.

Live load on the superstructure.

BS 5400 – HA UDL and HD KEL

BS 5400 – HB (45 units) abnormal vehicle load

JKR Standard – special vehicle (SV)

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 30

Forces on an Abutment

Self-weight of the abutment – Components

of the abutment include main body, wing walls

and approach slab.

Traction force – Horizontal forces due to

braking and acceleration of vehicles. BS 5400

specifies maximum traction force. JKR puts a

maximum value of 253 kN.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 31

Forces on an Abutment

Temperature variations – Expansion and contraction

due to temperature variation will induce force in the

substructure. Substantial movements occur in steel

bridges. The temperature induced movements or

deflections give rise to forces which will be transferred

to the abutments.

Creep and shrinkage – These are time dependent

properties of concrete. For both creep and shrinkage,

it is assumed (JKR practice) that about 50% occurs

after 3 months and about ¾ has taken place after 6

months.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 32

Forces on an Abutment

Earth pressures – The equivalent fluid concept (Rankine’s or

Coulomb’s theory) is normally used for calculating the earth

pressures on an abutment, but the selection of the appropriate

intensity depends on the degree of restraint offered by the wall

and the particular calculation being considered.

In a situation where a wall can move by tilting or sliding and the

backfill is a free draining granular material, active pressures are

assumed.

A common design approach is to use an equivalent fluid

pressure of 5H kN/m2, where the active coefficient, Ka is normally

0.25.

Modern compaction technique for placing the backfill material

and the use of more rigid type of construction have caused many

designers to estimate design pressures for the at-rest condition.

The value of the earth pressure coefficient at-rest, Ko is often

taken to be 1.5-2.0 times the active coefficient, Ka.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 33

Forces on an Abutment

Surcharge pressure – The effect of HA and

HB loadings on the carriageway behind the

abutment is arbitrarily treated as an additional

surcharge loading. The nominal values

suggested in BS 5400 for live load surcharge

are 10kN/m2 for HA loading and 20kN/m2 for

HB loading. The weight of granular material is

assumed to be 19kN/m3.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 34

Forces on an Abutment

Wind loading – must be considered only for

bridges with spans greater than 20m. A typical

value for wind speed of 40 mph is assumed for

30m span.

Seismic loading – There was only one case

so far in 1960 of medium size disturbance.

Long span bridges such as Penang Bridge

include seismic loading consideration in the

design.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 35

Forces on the Abutment

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 36

Abutment (Load Case 1)

WA

Self Weight during construction

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 37

Abutment (Load Case 2)

DL + HA

1/3 PSHB

Tr + Fstc + W

Pa

WA

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 38

Abutment (Load Case 3)

DL + HB

1/3 PSHB

Tr + Fstc + W

Pa

WA

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 39

Abutment (Load Case 4)

DL

Fstc

WA

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 40

Design Standards for Abutments

British Standards

BS 5400: Part 2: Specification for Loads

BS 5400: Part 4: Code of Practice for the

Design of Concrete Bridges

BS 8002: Code of Practice for Earth Retaining

Structures

BS 8006: Strengthened/Reinforced Soils and

Other Fills

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 41

Design Standards for Abutments

Design Manuals

BD30: Backfilled Retaining Walls and Bridge

Abutments

BD37: Loads for Highway Bridges

BA41: The Design and Appearance of Bridges

BA42: The Design of Integral Bridges

BD42: Design of Embedded Retaining Walls and

Bridge Abutments

BD57 and BA57: Design for Durability

BD70: Strengthened/Reinforced Soils and Other Fills

for Retaining Walls and Bridge Abutments

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 42

Basic Design

Considerations

Cantilever Wall Abutment

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 43

Cantilever Retaining Wall

The CONCRETE CANTILEVER

RETAINING WALL is constructed of

reinforced concrete and it supports

backfill soil by a cantilever action.

The cantilevered stem portion is fixed

at the bottom and is free at the top.

The base slab serves as a fixed

support and prevents against sliding

and overturning.

There is an option to install a key at

the bottom of the base slab to ensure

further safety against sliding.

These walls provide prolonged

durability and serviceability. They are

widely used due to their ease in

construction and cost-effectiveness.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 44

Cantilever Retaining Wall

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 45

Analysis & Design of Cantilever

Retaining Wall

Stability Analysis

Design of Concrete Members

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 46

Modes of Failure

Overturning

Sliding/Translation

Bearing capacity

Bending or shear failure of stem

Bending or shear failure of heel

Bending or shear failure of toe

Bending or shear failure of key

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 47

Design Considerations

The design of the wall must:

Resist sliding along its base

Resist overturning

Not exceed the bearing capacity of the

soil beneath the base

Avoid excessive settlement.

Built structurally strong to resist failure

from the build up of internal stresses

produced by external forces

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 48

Forces and Pressures on

Retaining Walls

The basic objective is to apply the conditions for

static equilibrium, which are:

must add to zero.

2. All the forces in the vertical direction must

add to zero.

3. The clockwise moments (or torques) must

equal the counter-clockwise moments.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 49

Forces on Cantilever Wall

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 50

Lateral Earth Pressures

Lateral earth pressure is normally calculated

based on Rankine or Coulomb’s theories.

Lateral earth pressure is assumed distributed

triangularly. The location of resultant is at 1/3 of

height.

If there is surcharge, lateral earth pressure from

surcharge is distributed uniformly. The resultant

is at ½ of height.

The lateral earth pressure is calculated at the

edge of heel.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 51

Lateral Earth Pressures

Ka.wH

Pa = 1/2Ka.γH2

H/2

H/3

Ka.w Ka.γH

Due to surcharge Due to backfill soil

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 52

Pressure Coefficients

The Rankine active earth pressure coefficient Ka

for the specific condition of a horizontal backfill

surface is calculated as follows:

Ka = (1 – sin(φ)) / (1 + sin(φ))

φ is the angle of internal friction of soil backfill.

The equation is modified if the backfill surface is

sloped.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 53

Stability Analysis

overturning.

2. Check soil bearing pressure.

3. Check factor of safety against sliding.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 54

Overturning

The rotating point for overturning is normally

assumed at bottom of toe. The height of soil

used to calculate lateral earth pressure should

be from top of earth to the bottom of footing.

Elements that resist overturning are weight of

stem, weight of footing, weight of soil above

footing. If there is a surcharge, the weight of

surcharge can also be considered.

The factor of safety against overturning is

resisting moment divided by overturning

moment. Acceptable factor of safety is between

1.5 to 2.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 55

Factor of Safety for Overturning

Overturning moment is The resisting moment is

calculated from : calculated as :

weight of stem, footing, earth,

Where γ is unit weight of key and surcharge,

soil, Ka is active pressure Xs,Xf,Xe,Xk,Xq are distances

coefficient, and H is the from the center of stem,

height from top of earth to footing, earth, key, and

bottom of footing, q is surcharge to the rotation point

surcharge. at toe.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 56

Factor of Safety for Overturning

determined from :

Overturning Moment Mo

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 57

Bearing Pressure

The centre of the total weight from the edge of

toe is

including stem, footing, earth and surcharge.

The eccentricity, e = B/2-X, where B is width of

base footing.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 58

Checking for Bearing Pressure

Σ W

Eccentricity, e = B/2 –X

B/2

Either,

X e ≤ B/6 or e > B/6

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 59

Bearing Pressure

If e ≤ B/6, the maximum and minimum footing

pressure is calculated as:

minimum footing pressure, B is the width of

footing.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 60

Bearing Pressure

If e > B/6, Qmin is zero,

bearing capacity of footing soil.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 61

Sliding

The driving force that causes retaining wall to

slide is the lateral earth pressure from soil and

surcharge.

The forces that resist sliding are passive

pressure at toe, the friction at the base of the

footing; and the passive pressure against the

key if used.

The factor of safety against sliding is the total

resisting force divided by total driving force.

Acceptable factor of safety is between 1.5 to 2.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 62

Factor of Safety for Sliding

The driving force for sliding is calculated as

footing is calculated as

where µ is friction coefficient between concrete

and soil. µ is often taken as tan(2/3 φ). φ is

internal friction of the soil.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 63

Factor of Safety for Sliding

The passive resistance (if any) at the toe of

retaining wall is calculated as

height from top of soil to bottom of footing at toe. If a

key is used to help resist sliding, h is the height from

top of soil to the bottom of the key.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 64

Factor of Safety for Sliding

The factor of safety is calculated as

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 65

Forces on the Abutment

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 66

Design of RC Members

1. Check thickness of stem for shear stress.

2. Design stem reinforcement for bending.

3. Check thickness of heel for shear stress.

4. Design heel reinforcement.

5. Check shear stress for toe when the toe is long.

6. Design toe reinforcement for bending.

7. Check shear stress in key when key is deep

and narrow.

8. Design key reinforcement for bending.

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 67

Design of Stem

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 68

Design of Heel

eu ≤ B/6

eu > B/6

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 69

Design of Toe

azlanfka/utm05/mab1053 70

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