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A mixed approach for determination of initial cable forces in cable-stayed bridges and the parameters variability


The determination of initial cable forces in cable-stayed bridges is an important first step in design and analysis of the structure under external loads. Adjustments of stay forces are often required during construction in order to assure the requested behaviour of the bridge in terms of final geometrical configuration and internal force distribution. An accurate assessment of the stay tensioning system allows designers to obtain a good result at the end of construction, by considering the parameters involved as deterministic quantities, assuring the observance of the execution tolerances during works. Actual loads and their variations need instead a stochastic approach which can give useful indications about the effects of parameter variations. Particularly, the measurement on site of the actual values of stay elongations contains errors and the actual values of pre-stressing forces and working site loads are subjected to unknown variations. In this paper a procedure is implemented which takes into account the stochastic variation of stay elongations and the related uncertainties. The presented method does not require large computational efforts or computer memory. By approximating the probability density distribution of the variables involved by the Gaussian curve, a closed form expression of the imposed elongations given to stays and their variations during erection is provided. The main aim is to obtain an accurate prediction of the differences between the deterministic quantities found by the design analyses and the actual values of deck deformations and stresses in the erection of steel cable-stayed bridges.