The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 75 (1997) > Issues > Issue 17 > The Collapse Behaviour of Multispan Brickwork Arch Bridges
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The Collapse Behaviour of Multispan Brickwork Arch Bridges

A large amount of work has in recent years been devoted to the study of the behaviour of single-span masonry arch bridges. Despite the large numbers of multispan bridges in this country and abroad, much less attention has been aforded them. This paper describes a programme of tests on three large-scale model multispan brickwork arch bridges, constructed in the laboratory. In the case of each bridge, when tested to collapse, it was found that one or more of the spans adjacent to the loaded span were involved in the failure mechanism. It was also found that the critical loading position was not at quarter span, but closer to the crown. The presence of attached spandrel walls had a significant influence on the behaviour and strength of the bridges. The experimental results are found to compare reasonably well with theoretical predictions using a rigid block (mechanism) method of analysis, especially when spandrel walls are included in the calculations. Professor C. Melbourne, M. Gilbert and M. Wagstaff