Numerical Studies on Soil Structure Interaction of Integral Railway Bridges with Different Backfills

Alexander Stastny*, Franz Tschuchnigg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


Integral bridge abutments interact strongly with their backfills, especially due to seasonal thermal loading. For higher train speeds or axle loads, railway transition zones are designed with different variations of wedge-shaped cemented granular mixtures or lean concrete. These backfills behave substantially different under lateral cyclic loading compared to granular backfills. Thus, the backfill choice could have a major impact on the design of the integral structure. Therefore, this paper investigates the soil-structure interaction of integral railway bridges with various backfills by means of 2D FE analyses (FEA). First, the abilities of two advanced soil models to model the cyclic earth pressure mobilisation are evaluated. For this task, test data of 1g cyclic laboratory tests are used and the Hardening Soil model with small-strain stiffness (Benz 2006) and the hypoplastic model with intergranular strain (Niemunis and Herle 1997) are applied. Based on these preliminary studies a 2D FE model of an integral railway bridge on spread footing is used to perform a sensitivity analysis of the model parameters’ influence on the cyclic lateral stress. At last, the model is adapted for different German railway backfill designs. In this study the wedge-shaped designs show (significantly) higher lateral forces, that exceed the existing analytical approach according to Vogt (1984)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChallenges and Innovations in Geomechanics - Proceedings of the 16th International Conference of IACMAG - Volume 3
EditorsMarco Barla, Alessandra Insana, Alice Di Donna, Donatella Sterpi
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-12851-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-12850-9
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event16th International Conference on Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics: IACMAG 2022 - Hybrider Event, Torino, Italy
Duration: 30 Aug 20222 Sept 2022

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Civil Engineering
Volume288 LNCE
ISSN (Print)2366-2557
ISSN (Electronic)2366-2565


Conference16th International Conference on Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics
CityHybrider Event, Torino
Internet address


  • Backfill design
  • Cyclic FE analysis
  • Hypoplasticity
  • Integral railway bridges
  • Lateral stresses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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