A curved and/or skewed steel I-girder bridge, in addition to the basic vertical shear and bending effects, will be subjected to torsional and warping effects. Thus, simplified hand calculation and line girder methods, might not be enough when bridges are to be analyzed. Refined methods, termed by AASHTO, have to be adopted. This paper has investigated the closeness and difference between curved bridge finite element models using 2-D gird and 3-D shell elements of I-girders, both are part of AASHTO refined method. Moreover, the results are calibrated by comparing analysis result with various two-dimensional and three-dimensional computations with varied curvature effects. It is concluded that when introducing torsional effects to finite element models, the modified torsional constant J with consideration of warping effect should be taken into the 2-D grid model as a refined model. When using 3-D shell elements as the refined model, stiffeners and connection plates play an important role of global model stiffness and should not be ignored, especially for sharp curved steel I-girder bridges.
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