August 2009

The new I-35W bridge, which replaces the one that collapsed in 2007, includes sensors to investigate its structural behavior. Professors Catherine French, Carol Shield, and Henryk Stolarski of the Department of Civil Engineering are using MSI resources for a key aspect of the data interpretation, which is the development of a detailed finite element model (FEM) to investigate the static and dynamic properties of the bridge, including time-dependent effects. Monitoring the bridge should lead to a better understanding of the behavior of post-tensioned concrete bridges in the state of Minnesota and potential improvements in the methods for analysis and design of these systems, as well as to recommendations for instrumentation of future bridges.