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Reliability-Based Assessment and Optimization of High-Speed Railway Bridges

Time: Fri 2021-10-01 13.00

Location: Videolänk, Du som saknar dator /datorvana kontakta Raid Karoumi / Use the e-mail address if you need technical assistance, Stockholm (Swedish)

Subject area: Civil and Architectural Engineering, Structural Engineering and Bridges

Doctoral student: Reza Allahvirdizadeh , Bro- och stålbyggnad

Opponent: Professor Daniel Straub, Technical Univesity of Munich

Supervisor: Professor Raid Karoumi, Bro- och stålbyggnad; Dr. Andréas Andersson, Bro- och stålbyggnad


Increasing the operational speed of trains has attracted a lot of interest in the last decades and has brought new challenges, especially in terms of infrastructure design methodology, as it may induce excessive vibrations. Such demands can damage bridges, which in turn increases maintenance costs, endangers the safety of passing trains and disrupts passenger comfort. Conventional design provisions should therefore be evaluated in the light of modern concerns; nevertheless, several previous studies have highlighted some of their shortcomings. It should be emphasized that most of these studies have neglected the uncertainties involved, which preventsthe reported results from representing a complete picture of the problem. In this respect, the present thesis is dedicated to evaluating the performance of conventional design methods, especially those related to running safety and passenger comfort, using probabilistic approaches. To achieve this objective, a preliminary study was carried out using the first-order reliability method for short/medium span bridges passed by trains at a wide range of operating speeds. Comparison of these results with the corresponding deterministic responses showed that applying a constant safety factor to the running safety threshold does not guarantee that the safety index will be identical for all bridges. It also shows that the conventional design approaches result in failure probabilities that are higher than the target values. This conclusion highlights the need to update the design methodology for running safety. However, it would be essential to determine whether running safety is the predominant design criterion before conducting further analysis. Therefore, a stochastic comparison between this criterion and passenger comfort was performed. Due to the significant computational cost of such investigations, subset simulation and crude Monte-Carlo (MC) simulation using meta-models based on polynomial chaos expansion were employed. Both methods were found to perform well, with running safety almost always dominating the passenger comfort limit state. Subsequently, classification-based meta-models, e.g. support vector machines, k-nearest neighbours and decision trees, were combined using ensemble techniques to investigate the influence of soil-structure interaction on the evaluated reliability of running safety. The obtained results showed a significant influence, highlighting the need for detailed investigations in further studies. Finally, a reliability-based design optimization was conducted to update the conventional design method of running safety by proposing minimum requirements for the mass per length and moment of inertia of bridges. It is worth mentioning that the inner loop of the method was solved by a crude MC simulation using adaptively trained Kriging meta-models.