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The main objective of this study is to develop a high-resolution model capable of simulating the response of bridge structures to hydrodynamic loads for hurricane design conditions (i.e., surge height, wave height, and frequency) expected in the Texas-Louisiana coast. The model relied on Coupled Eulerian-Lagrangian (CEL) techniques where solids are simulated with Lagrangian meshes, while fluids are simulated using Eulerian meshes, and was calibrated using historical data from wave impact laboratory tests. Two high resolution models were created, the first of a tsunami wave impact test conducted at Oregon State University and the second of a bridge located in the Gulf Coast that was heavily impacted by hurricane Katrina. The tsunami wave impact model showed that the CEL technique could provide accurate estimates of wave elevation, water velocity, and wall reaction recorded during the tests at Oregon State University. The bridge model was used to calculate bridge support demands for a representative combination of storm surge, wave velocity and wave length. A parametric study showed that for waves with similar characteristics to those from past hurricanes in the Gulf Coast, calculated connection forces were significantly different for models in which the bridge substructure was included than in models with the common assumption of rigid substructure. Furthermore, the simulations showed that the difference between connection forces calculated with models with rigid and flexible substructure varied for different types of hydrodynamic loading. The findings of this study indicate that it is important to develop a better understanding of the relationship between wave characteristics and dynamic response of the bridge structure before accurate relationships for wave impact forces can be proposed.


Tran-SET Project No. 17STTSA02