The barge collisions with the bridge piers which are commonly used on the high-speed railway lines in China are simulated. The influence factors such as the material and shape of piers, and the velocity, collision angle and the number of barges in multi-barge flotilla are discussed. By determining the pier's damage, the dynamic characteristics of the pier after collision are calculated and used to evaluate the structural safety. It is found that single barge with fast velocity is a threat to high-speed railway bridge, and round-ended pier is more available than round pier to resist the barge collision.
With the rapid development of HSR (high-speed railway) network, several cross-sea bridges will be constructed, especially in South East China. Bridges play an important role in HSR, while at the meanwhile, the substructure of a bridge behave as a man-made obstacle in the navigation channel. In the recent years, the collapse accidents due to vessel collision become more and more serious.
According to the statistics, at least one serious vessel collision occurs worldwide each year and many such collisions lead to catastrophic consequences. It was reported that during the period of 1960~2007, there were 34 serious bridge collapses worldwide due to vessel (ship or barge) collision, with a total of 346 lives lost (Manen, 2001). For crosssea bridges, a famous example of the severe accident occurred in 2009 in China, when a cargo vessel ploughed into the Jintang Cross-Sea Bridge just 5 days before its open for traffic, and the accident lead to serious damage on the bridge pier (Qu, 2009), as shown in Fig.1
When a collision load acts on a bridge pier or a girder, it may cause dislocation of bearings and girders, threatening the safety of the bridge structure. To solve this problem, researchers did lots of work by various methods. In most previous studies of this problem, however, the piers were assumed to be rigid or elastic. Yuan et al. (2008) from the Kentucky Transportation Center and the University of Kentucky conducted theoretical FE analysis on various types of flotilla impacting bridge piers, and generated the design equations for barge/flotilla impact loads. Sha and Hao (2014) developed an accurate numerical model of barge-pier collision with the consideration of the pier plastic deformation and damage in LS-DYNA, and presented the impact force time histories with respect to various collision conditions. Walters (2017) in the University of Florida developed the Nonlinear dynamic finite element models of barge flotillas, inelastic barge crushing and inter-barge wire-rope lashing behaviors over a wide range of conditions, and the numerical simulation results were proved to be valid by comparing with the experimental test data.