Experimental and numerical investigation on wave impacts on box-girder bridges

Deming Zhu, You Dong, Dan M. Frangopol

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change could result in more extreme weather events and induce increasing challenges to the low-lying coastal bridges. The structural performance of box-girder bridges under wave impacts was seldom investigated. In this paper, a three-dimensional (3D) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model is established to simulate the wave-bridge interactions, and laboratory experiments are conducted to investigate wave impacts on a bridge. The experiments and 3D CFD simulations are unique as compared with other relevant studies since they provide the complex wave-bridge interactions through dynamic and spatial analyses. Specifically, time histories of vertical and horizontal wave forces are measured through experiments. The time-dependent pressure distributions, wave-induced forces, and overturning moments on the bridge model are computed with the CFD model. The effects of different parameters on the maximum wave forces are discussed. Also, comparisons of the differences between two-dimensional (2D) and 3D CFD models are conducted. Then, the results are converted to a prototype scale to explore the effects of wave impacts, and prediction formulas are proposed accordingly. This study combining experimental and 3D numerical investigations could help improve understanding of the wave-bridge interaction mechanism, and further aid the optimal and robust designs of coastal bridges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1379-1397
Number of pages19
JournalStructure and Infrastructure Engineering
Issue number10-11
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • 3D CFD simulation
  • box-girder bridges
  • laboratory experiment
  • overturning moment
  • solitary wave
  • wave force prediction method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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