Research Papers

Numerical Evaluation of AASHTO Drag Force Coefficients of Water Flow Around Bridge Piers

[+] Author and Article Information
Amin Almasri

Associate Professor
Civil Engineering Department,
Jordan University of Science and Technology,
Irbid 22110, Jordan
e-mail: ahalmasri@just.edu.jo

Shadi Moqbel

Assistant Professor
Civil Engineering Department,
The University of Jordan,
Amman 11942, Jordan
e-mail: s.moqbel@ju.edu.jo

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Materials Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received April 13, 2016; final manuscript received August 31, 2016; published online February 1, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Xi Chen.

J. Eng. Mater. Technol 139(2), 021001 (Feb 01, 2017) (8 pages) Paper No: MATS-16-1112; doi: 10.1115/1.4035253 History: Received April 13, 2016; Revised August 31, 2016

Drag force is usually exerted on bridge piers due to running river water. This force is calculated empirically based on drag coefficients stated in design codes and specifications. Different values of drag coefficients have been reported in literature. For example, AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications uses a drag coefficient of 1.4 and 0.7 for square-ended and semicircular-nosed pier, respectively, while Coastal Construction Manual (FEMA P-55) recommends a value of two and 1.2 for square and round piles, respectively. In addition, many researchers have obtained other different values of drag coefficient under similar conditions (i.e., similar range of Reynolds number) reaching to 2.6 for square object. The present study investigates the drag coefficient of flow around square, semicircular-nosed, and 90 deg wedged-nosed and circular piers numerically using finite element method. Results showed that AASHTO values for drag force coefficient varied between very conservative to be under-reckoning. The study recommends that AASHTO drag coefficient values should be revised for different circumstances and under more severe conditions.

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Fig. 1

Vertical and horizontal dimensions of the models (dimensions in meters): (a) square pier, (b) semicircular-nosed pier, and (c) wedged-nosed pier

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Fig. 2

Convergence of drag coefficient value for different types of finite elements

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Fig. 3

Pressure contours at (a) velocity of 0.001 m/s and (b) velocity of 1 m/s for square pier

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Fig. 4

Longitudinal drag coefficient at different Reynolds numbers

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Fig. 5

Inclined flow direction

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Fig. 6

Pressure contours at flow angle of (a) θ = 10 deg and (b) θ = 20 deg, for square pier at flow velocity of 1 m/s

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Fig. 7

Drag coefficient versus time at different flow angles for a square pier at 1 m/s flow velocity: (a) V = 1 m/s, angle = 5 deg; (b) V = 1 m/s, angle = 10 deg; (c) V = 1 m/s, angle = 20 deg; (d) V = 1 m/s, angle = 30 deg; and (e) V = 1 m/s, angle = 45 deg

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Fig. 8

Drag coefficient for a square pier for different flow orientation angles

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Fig. 9

Longitudinal drag coefficient for semicircular-nosed pier

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Fig. 10

Longitudinal drag coefficient for wedged-nosed pier

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Fig. 11

Drag coefficient versus Reynolds number for circular pier

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Fig. 12

Velocity contour around square pier at flow velocity of 1 m/s

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Fig. 13

Velocity contour around two tandem square piers at flow velocity of 1 m/s

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Fig. 14

Drag coefficient of two tandem square piers at flow velocity of 1 m/s



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