Fire Risk Assessment of Suspension Bridge Towers under Varying Vehicle Load Conditions: A Simulation Study

Mostofı S., Akbulut Y. E., Altunışık A. C.

3rd International Civil Engineering & Architecture Conference (ICEARC'23), Trabzon, Turkey, 12 - 14 October 2023, vol.1, pp.1709-1716

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 1
  • Doi Number: 10.31462/icearc.2023.sme767
  • City: Trabzon
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.1709-1716
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose: This study employed a two-step methodology to investigate the fire response of a suspension bridge tower, as one of the main elements under vehicle fire exposure. Study design/methodology/approach: To fully understand the behavior of the tower, it was exposed to three different vehicle fire scenarios: passenger car, bus, and truck fire. Fire Dynamic Simulator (FDS) software was used to simulate the fire behavior and record the time-temperature developments. The FDS results were used to assess fire behavior, and the recorded temperatures were transferred to ABAQUS finite element (FE) analysis for thermal analysis. From the thermal analysis results, the impact of each vehicle fire on the tower was determined.

Findings: The results highlighted the susceptibility of suspension bridge’s steel towers to vehicle fire with large spill area. Fires involving vehicles with smaller spill areas present a less severe threat and are less likely to result in significant tower damage. Rapid fire control is critical to mitigate damage and prevent potential tower failure.

Originality/value: The performed fire evaluation has contributed to a more robust understanding of fire dynamics and enhancing fire safety strategies for suspension bridges. The results from this study can be used to perform a comprehensive thermal-structural analysis to determine the potential failure modes and overall behavior of the bridge under severe fire conditions. The methodology implemented here can be used as a foundation for similar parametric studies, extending the scope of analysis to other bridge components such as suspenders and cables.