Performance of cable-stayed bridge pylons subjected to blast loading
Since the terrorist attacks of 2001, concern about potential car bomb attacks on buildings and infrastructure such as bridges and tunnels has increased tremendously. Design for better performance of these structures subjected to blast load is important to prevent progressive collapse of the structure and catastrophic loss of lives. The objective of this research was to study the performance of hollow steel box and concrete-filled composite pylons of a cable-stayed bridge subjected to blast loads. Car bomb detonation on the deck is assumed to be the most likely scenario to occur. A coupled numerical approach with combined Lagrangian and Eulerian models was used to consider the interaction of the deck and pylon with the air that transfers the explosion effect to the bridge. The non-linear explicit finite element analysis program, MD Nastran SOL700 was used to simulate the spatial and time variation of the blast load as well as blast shock wave–bridge interaction response. The blast resistance of two different types of pylons was investigated in a comparative study. The study established damage patterns of the pylon and showed superior performance of the concrete-filled composite pylon over the hollow steel box pylon. For the hollow steel box pylon, the P–Δ effect on the instability of the pylon subjected to blast load was significant.