Temperature distribution analysis of steel box-girder based on long-term monitoring data

  • Wang, Hao (Key Laboratory of C&PC Structures of Ministry of Education, Southeast University) ;
  • Zhu, Qingxin (Key Laboratory of C&PC Structures of Ministry of Education, Southeast University) ;
  • Zou, Zhongqin (Key Laboratory of C&PC Structures of Ministry of Education, Southeast University) ;
  • Xing, Chenxi (School of Law, Southeast University) ;
  • Feng, Dongming (Weidlinger Transportation Practice, Thornton Tomasetti) ;
  • Tao, Tianyou (Key Laboratory of C&PC Structures of Ministry of Education, Southeast University)
  • Received : 2019.08.24
  • Accepted : 2019.12.09
  • Published : 2020.05.25


Temperature may have more significant influences on structural responses than operational loads or structural damage. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of temperature distributions has great significance for proper design and maintenance of bridges. In this study, the temperature distribution of the steel box girder is systematically investigated based on the structural health monitoring system (SHMS) of the Sutong Cable-stayed Bridge. Specifically, the characteristics of the temperature and temperature difference between different measurement points are studied based on field temperature measurements. Accordingly, the probability density distributions of the temperature and temperature difference are calculated statistically, which are further described by the general formulas. The results indicate that: (1) the temperature and temperature difference exhibit distinct seasonal characteristics and strong periodicity, and the temperature and temperature difference among different measurement points are strongly correlated, respectively; (2) the probability density of the temperature difference distribution presents strong non-Gaussian characteristics; (3) the probability density function of temperature can be described by the weighted sum of four Normal distributions. Meanwhile, the temperature difference can be described by the weighted sum of Weibull distribution and Normal distribution.


  1. Ding, Y.L., Zhou, G.D., Li, A.Q. and Wang, G.X. (2012), "Thermal field characteristic analysis of steel box girder based on long-term measurement data", Int. J. Steel Struct., 12(2), 219-232.
  2. Gong, J. (2000), "A new probability index for estimating Weibull modulus for ceramics with the least-square method", J. Mater. Sci. Lett., 19(10), 827-829.
  3. Groeneveld, R.A. and Meeden, G. (1984), "Measuring skewness and kurtosis", J. Royal Statist. Soc.: Series D (The Statistician), 33(4), 391-399.
  4. Guo, T., Liu, J., Zhang, Y. and Pan, S. (2014), "Displacement monitoring and analysis of expansion joints of long-span steel bridges with viscous dampers", J. Bridge Eng., 20(9), 04014099.
  5. Ho, D. and Liu, C.H. (1989), "Extreme thermal loadings in highway bridges", J. Struct. Eng., 115(7), 1681-1696.
  6. Im, C.K. and Chang, S.P. (2004), "Estimating extreme thermal loads in composite bridge using long-term measured data", Int. J. Steel Struct., 4(1), 25-31.
  7. Joanes, D.N. and Gill, C.A. (1998), "Comparing measures of sample skewness and kurtosis", J. Royal Statist. Soc.: Series D (The Statistician), 47(1), 183-189.
  8. Liu, H.B., Chen, Z.H. and Zhou, T. (2012), "Theoretical and experimental study on the temperature distribution of H-shaped steel members under solar radiation", Appl. Thermal Eng., 37, 329-335.
  9. Macdonald, J.H. and Daniell, W.E. (2005), "Variation of modal parameters of a cable-stayed bridge identified from ambient vibration measurements and FE modelling", Eng. Struct., 27(13), 1916-1930.
  10. Mao, J.X., Wang, H., Feng, D.M., Tao, T.Y. and Zheng, W.Z. (2018), "Investigation of dynamic properties of long-span cable-stayed bridges based on one-year monitoring data under normal operating condition", Struct. Control Health Monitor., 25(5), e2146.
  11. Saetta, A., Scotta, R. and Vitaliani, R. (1995), "Stress analysis of concrete structures subjected to variable thermal loads", J. Struct. Eng., 121(3), 446-457.
  12. Salawu, O.S. (1997), "Detection of structural damage through changes in frequency: a review", Eng. Struct., 19(9), 718-723.
  13. Spencer Jr, B.F., Ruiz, M.E. and Kurata, N. (2004), "Smart sensing technology: opportunities and challenges", Struct. Control Health Monitor., 11(4), 349-368.
  14. Tong, M., Tham, L.G., Au, F.T.K. and Lee, P.K.K. (2001), "Numerical modelling for temperature distribution in steel bridges", Comput. Struct., 79(6), 583-593.
  15. Wang, H., Tao, T.Y., Li, A.Q. and Zhang, Y.F. (2016), "Structural health monitoring system for Sutong cable-stayed bridge", Smart Struct. Syst., Int. J., 18(2), 317-334.
  16. Westgate, R., Koo, K.Y. and Brownjohn, J. (2014), "Effect of solar radiation on suspension bridge performance", J. Bridge Eng., 20(5), 04014077.
  17. Xia, Y., Xu, Y.L., Wei, Z.L., Zhu, H.P. and Zhou, X.Q. (2011), "Variation of structural vibration characteristics versus nonuniform temperature distribution", Eng. Struct., 33(1), 146-153.
  18. Xia, Y., Chen, B., Zhou, X.Q. and Xu, Y.L. (2013), "Field monitoring and numerical analysis of Tsing Ma Suspension Bridge temperature behavior", Struct. Control Health Monitor., 20(4), 560-575.
  19. Xia, Q., Zhang, J., Tian, Y.D. and Zhang, Y.F. (2017), "Experimental study of thermal effects on a long-span suspension bridge", J. Bridge Eng., 22(7), 04017034.
  20. Xu, Y.L., Chen, B., Ng, C.L., Wong, K.Y. and Chan, W.Y. (2010), "Monitoring temperature effect on a long suspension bridge", Struct. Control Health Monitor., 17(6), 632-653.
  21. Yarnold, M.T. and Moon, F.L. (2015), "Temperature-based structural health monitoring baseline for long-span bridges", Eng. Struct., 86, 157-167.
  22. Ye, J.S., Lei, X. and Wang, Y. (2009), "Study of Characteristic Value of Thermal Difference of Concrete Box Girder Based on Statistical Analysis", J. Highway Transport. Res. Develop., 26(11), 50-54.
  23. Zhang, X.G., Pei, M.S., Yuan, H., Xu, L.P. and Zhu, B. (2009), "Study on structural system of Sutong Bridge", Eng. Sci., 11(3), 20-25.
  24. Zhang, X.G., Liu, G., Ma, J., Wu, H., Fu, B. and Gao, Y. (2015), "Status and prospect of technical development for bridges in China", Chinese Sci. Bull., 61(4-5), 415-425.
  25. Zhou, G.D., Ding, Y.L., Li, A.Q. and Wang, G.X. (2012), "Thermal difference characteristic analysis of a flat steel box girder in long-span suspension bridge based on long-term field measurement data", China Civil Eng. J., 1(5), 114-125.
  26. Zuk, W. (1965), "Thermal behavior of composite bridges-insulated and uninsulated", Highway Res. Record, 76, 231-253.