- Influence of backfill on the capacity of masonry arch bridges
- P. Callaway ; M. Gilbert ; C.C. Smith
- Book Title / Journal: Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Bridge Engineering
- Year: 0000 , Volume: 165 , Series: 3
- Structure types ; Masonry Structures
- The influence of the presence of backfill on the load-carrying capacity of a masonry arch bridge can be considerable. The backfill is responsible for transmitting and distributing live loads from the road or rail surface through to the arch barrel and also for laterally stabilising the arch barrel as it sways under load. However, it can be difficult to separate these two distinct effects, and hence also difficult to ascertain whether existing assessment code recommendations are realistic. To address this, a series of experiments designed to separate these two effects have been performed. A total of 27 small-scale bridge tests were undertaken and the experimentally obtained peak loads then compared with results from limit analysis software of varying complexity. It was confirmed that passive restraint and live load distribution both contribute significantly to bridge-carrying capacity, and that, when failure involves a four-hinge failure mechanism, even comparatively simple limit analysis software can model the various effects remarkably well.