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The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 54-11 [New]

Quality Control Checks for Bridge and Structure Analysis Models
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $55,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 4/29/2023 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Jo Allen Gause
Fiscal Year: 2023

Preliminary Scope

The design of bridges and structures often involves the use of structural analysis models of varying degrees of complexity. Superstructure design models vary from approximate 1-dimensional line girder analysis models to complex 2- and 3-dimensional finite element analysis models. Substructure and foundation models often consider soil-structure interaction, second-order effects, dynamic response (for seismic analysis), and interaction with the superstructure. A variety of software analysis programs are used to create and run these models, both commercial software and user-developed software. These models, and the structures they represent, can be quite complex, with enormous amounts of input parameters and output of results.

Creating and performing quality control checks of these analysis models can be a daunting task, particularly for more complex designs. The engineer must understand the anticipated behavior of the structure and review the predicted behavior of the models to determine if the model is correctly representing and estimating the real-world performance of the structure. A simple “check the program input values” is not always practical, or sufficient, for checking these models. Often it is necessary to perform other actions to check the model, such as “sanity check” reviews of key model results, comparing the model results to the results of simpler analysis methods, performing full independent analysis modeling and comparing the results, or other methods.

The objective of this synthesis is to document state DOT current practices related to quality checking software-based structural analysis models for bridges and structures. The synthesis will focus on the responsibilities of the engineer in checking structural analysis models.

Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to):
• Identification of DOTs that have an established process for quality control checking of structural analysis models and those agencies that do not have an established process;
• Written guidelines and procedures for control checking the models;
• Engineering practices regarding control checking and how the checking practice may differ relative to the type and complexity of the models being checked;
• Tools and techniques used for control checking the models; and
• How the results of the control checks are used.

Information will be gathered through a literature review, a survey of state DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.

Information Sources (Partial):
• Adams, A., et al. “Manual for Refined Analysis in Bridge Design and Evaluation,” Report FHWA-HIF-18-046, Federal Highway Administration, Washington, DC, May 2019.
• Choe, L., et al. “Evaluation of Prestressed Concrete I-Girder Bridge Design Software with NCHRP Process 12-50.” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Number 2131 (Structures), Washington, DC, 2009.
• Jungil, S., et al., “Evaluation of Composite Steel I-Girder Bridge Design Software Using NCHRP Process 12-50,” 89th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, 2010.
• Michael Baker Jr. Inc., et al. NCHRP Report 485: Bridge Software Validation Guidelines and Examples. Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, 2003.
• Mlynarski, M., et al. NCHRP Report 700: A Comparison of AASHTO Bridge Load Rating Methods. Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, 2011.
• Mlynarski, M., et al. “Bridge Software Validation Guidelines and Examples.” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Number 1696, Washington, DC, 2000.
• U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, “Software Quality Assurance Program and Guidelines”. Report NUREG BR-0167, Division of Information Support Services, Office of Information Resources Management, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC, February 1993.
• Varma, A.H., and Jungil, S. “Verification of LRFD Bridge Design and Analysis Software for INDOT”. Report FHWA/IN/JTRP-2009/27, Joint Transportation Research Program, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, August 2009. 
 

 

 
 
TRB Staff
Jo Allen Gause
Phone: 202-334-3826
Email: jagause@nas.edu  

Meeting Dates
First Panel: September 20, 2022, Virtual
Teleconference with ConsultantTBD
Second Panel: TBD

Topic Panel
TBD

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