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Engineering Structures

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/engstruct

investigation: Application on Kakodiki bridge

B. Conde a, G.A. Drosopoulos b, G.E. Stavroulakis c, B. Riveiro a,, M.E. Stavroulaki d

a

University of Vigo, School of Industrial Engineering, Department of Engineering Materials, Applied Mechanics and Construction, ES-36208 Vigo, Spain

University of KwaZulu-Natal, Department of Civil Engineering, South Africa

c

Technical University of Crete, School of Production Engineering and Management, Institute of Computational Mechanics and Optimization, GR-73100 Chania, Greece

d

Technical University of Crete, School of Architecture, Applied Mechanics Laboratory, GR-73100 Chania, Greece

b

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:

Received 26 March 2016

Revised 3 August 2016

Accepted 30 August 2016

Available online 15 September 2016

Keywords:

Masonry arch bridges

Inverse analysis

Optimization

Genetic algorithm

Unilateral contact-friction

a b s t r a c t

In this paper a novel approach for the investigation of pathological problems in masonry arch bridges

using inverse analysis procedures is proposed. A real case study located in Kakodiki village on the island

of Crete (Greece) is considered for the application of the proposed computational scheme. The method

uses the damaged condition of the bridge as starting point and seeks the potential load cases that led

to its development. The damage identification is transformed into a parameter identification problem

which is studied by comparing numerical predictions and existing damage pattern. A global optimization

approach by means of a genetic algorithm is adopted within the inverse problem, aiming at adjusting the

parameters of the mechanical model of the structure so that an error function that measures the differences between the real and the numerically predicted damage pattern is minimized. The outcome of the

methodology might provide a valuable information regarding to the planning of maintenance actions as

well as to the design of retrofitting measures.

2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

Masonry arch bridges are historic and traditional civil engineering constructions with an important presence in many countries

around the world. Many of these infrastructures still play an

important role in the railway and road networks [1], while others

have been gradually relegated by the most modern steel and concrete structures. In a context where the preservation of cultural

heritage is a major concern of the modern societies, masonry

bridges also represent an invaluable cultural legacy. Built according to the knowledge and to the means of the time, they personify

the signs and memories of our past generations [2].

Pathological conditions may arise in masonry bridges as a consequence of the diverse and intense loading scenarios which

appear throughout their service life. Usually, small or large deformations and damage remain after these phenomena [3].

Approaches based on the formulation of an inverse analysis problem might contribute to the successful identification of the loading

scenarios that led the structure to the current damaged condition.

In this framework, the initial consideration would be the present

damaged state of the bridge, whilst the final state under investiga Corresponding author.

E-mail address: belenriveiro@uvigo.es (B. Riveiro).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.engstruct.2016.08.060

0141-0296/ 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

scenarios of damage loading. A theoretical initial geometry of the

bridge is adopted and the implementation of different hypothetical

loading cases is carried out. The comparison of the predictions of

these scenarios with the measured state, will allow us determining

which one most probably occurred in the given structure [4]. Thus,

the obtained conclusions might provide a valuable information for

the adoption of adequate maintenance and strengthening

measures.

From the mathematical point of view, the problem can be seen

as a parameter identification problem [5], in order to adjust the

parameters of the mechanical model of the structure so that existing damage and deformations are reproduced with the highest

accuracy. The solution of the problem can be addressed by combining a parameterized mechanical model with an iterative optimization algorithm, with the aim of minimizing the differences

between the real measured data and the numerical predictions.

As for the accurate geometric characterization of the current

shape of the bridge, it no longer represents a problem. The availability of conventional remote sensing surveying techniques or

even the more advanced photogrammetry [6] and laser scanning

technologies [7] enables us to easily overcome this stage. Regarding to the initially intended design geometry, it could be estimated

from existing design drawings; in their absence the geometric

allow us to assume regular or parametric shapes [8,9], even though

these might have been affected by the process of construction.

Indeed, as in the inverse problem, the original geometry is one of

the aspects under investigation a detailed information is not

needed.

An additional benefit of the inverse analysis procedure comes

from using an optimization algorithm. This ensures that a much

more systematic and efficient investigation is carried out in comparison with common direct approaches, where only a limited

set of numerical models and loading scenarios are explored to

obtain a rough estimation of the causes of damage.

Therefore, in the present paper an inverse analysis procedure

applied to a real masonry arch bridge is presented. A global optimization approach by means of a genetic algorithm is adopted

within the inverse problem aimed at minimizing an error function

that measures the differences between the real and the numerically predicted damage pattern. The genetic algorithm, which is a

stochastic global search technique, is a well-known optimization

method due to its ability to find the optimum solution in complex

nonlinear problems in conjunction with its robustness and

efficiency.

Nonlinear finite element models based on the principles of nonsmooth mechanics [10] were used to represent the mechanical

performance of the bridge, either considering the isolated arch

within a unilateral contact-friction approach or by means of a more

refined model, where the fill material is explicitly modeled through

a suitable plasticity law accounting for arch-infill interaction

effects.

389

Fig. 1. Overall image of Kakodiki bridge, shown from the downstream side [4].

The case study considered in this investigation is a real masonry

arch bridge located in Kakodiki village, on the island of Crete in

Greece. The bridge was built in 1903 by the Cretan State and has

been used for decades as the main means of communication for

pedestrians from the eastern and western parts of the Kakodiki

region [11]. Moreover, being one of the few masonry bridges still

surviving in the area, and even on island of the Crete, it is a valuable example of the traditional construction techniques employed

in that region. According to this fact, in 2005 the Greek government

officially recognized its heritage importance. In Fig. 1, an overall

picture of the structure is shown.

Nevertheless, at the present time the bridge presents an important overall damaged state. The on-site inspections allowed us to

focus our attention on two main issues. First, the presence of three

main cracks (hinges) was revealed: one on the outer surface of the

ring at the top of the arch (Hinge 2) and two on the inner surface of

the ring, placed approximately a quarter of the span from both

sides of the abutments (Hinge 1 and 3). The pattern of hinges is

highlighted in more detail in Figs. 25 and 7.

Second, the presence of extreme floods in the area occurred due

to the fact that important damage to the abutments of the bridge

was observed. This damage, although severe in both supports

(see Figs. 5 and 6), is more pronounced in the right abutment, with

some stones even being completely removed from its bottom part.

Aiming to obtain more comprehensive knowledge about the

current damaged state of the bridge, the in-situ visual inspections

were complemented with a topographic survey. Neither information about the original designs of the structure, nor previous surveys were available, so before proceeding further, this step was

crucial. Accordingly, in Fig. 7 the geometric data acquired are

depicted, with a representation of the elevation plan from the

upstream side, the main dimensions of the arch, as well as a schematic description of the hinges.

Fig. 2. Pattern of three hinges developed in the arch, shown from the upstream

side [4].

identification

In order to explain the methodology and the difficulties of the

inverse analysis, let us assume that the mechanical model of the

bridge depends on a number m of unknown parameters included

in vector w 2 Rm . These parameters could be the material of the

structure, the geometric quantities, etc. In a linear structural analysis problem approximated by the finite element method, the

mechanical model reads:

390

is a non-linear mapping from Rm to Rn , i.e.

uw K 1 wp

structural mapping (2) is non-linear.

In more complicated problems arising in case of non-linear

material models, such as elastoplastic behavior, or even unilateral

contact models, the previously mentioned mapping may become

discontinuous or non-differentiable [12].

On the other hand, solving an inverse analysis problem can be

seen as a parameter identification problem for a suitably parametrized model of the structure. Provided that displacements at certain measurement points are measured, the inverse problem can

be solved by the equivalent least squares minimization problem:

Fig. 4. Hinge 3, shown from the downstream side.

minw Euw

Fig. 5. Damage in the abutment below hinge 3 (right abutment), shown from the

upstream side [4].

1

uw u0 T Auw u0

2

contains suitably defined weights (for the classical least squares

problem A I, with I being the identity matrix).

The convexity of the error measure described in (3) cannot be

guaranteed in general. In fact, the composite function is convex

under very restricted assumptions related to the monotonicity of

the mapping (2), which cannot be expected to hold true in reallife problems [13]. Therefore, solving the parameter identification

problem (3) is in general a global optimization problem, with local

minima that must be avoided. This fact justifies the usage of

genetic algorithms, which represent a class of applicable and powerful global optimization algorithms. Of course, if the appropriate

initial values for the unknown parameters w exist, the appearance

of local minima could be avoided, and every classical non-linear

optimization algorithm could solve the problem. Further information related to non-linear least squares and inverse problems can

be found, among others, in [1416].

4. Numerical modeling

4.1. Description of the computational models

Fig. 6. Damage in the abutment below hinge 1 (left abutment), shown from the

upstream side [4].

Kwu p

with the usual notation for the stiffness matrix K, the displacement

vector u 2 Rn , with n degrees of freedom, and the loading vector p.

absence of mortar or its low quality. Furthermore, much of the

damage which takes place in masonry bridges can be described

by loss of contact, sliding or, rarely, compressive yield of the

masonry. In this scenario, techniques from non-smooth mechanics

and mathematical programming, especially complementarity

problems, can be used for structural analysis and the calculation

of the limit load and collapse mode [17].

Accordingly, in this research non-linear finite element models

based on the principles of non-smooth mechanics were adopted

to represent the mechanical performance of Kakodiki bridge. In a

first approximation to the problem, only the structural behavior

of the isolated arch was considered by means of a unilateral

contact-friction approach. Then, in a second assumption, the fill

material was also included in the numerical model, and thus its

strengthening effect over the arch was accounted for.

In both approaches, a two-dimensional finite element discretization was adopted. In particular, the geometry of the arch

was divided into a discrete number of interfaces perpendicular to

the center line of the arch ring. These interfaces, uniformly distributed, simulate potential cracks or predefined planes of weakness. Unilateral contact law governs the behavior in the normal

direction of the interface, indicating that no tension forces can be

transmitted in that direction. The behavior in the tangential direction takes into account that sliding may or may not occur.

391

Fig. 7. Geometry of the current damaged state of the structure (in meters).

mechanism can be described by the following set of relations:

The non-penetration inequality, the non-tension inequality and a

complementarity either-or relation, which indicates that either

separation with zero contact force, or a compressive contact force

with zero gap appears. For a discretized structure, the previous

relations are written for every point of a unilateral boundary or

interface by using the appropriate vectors. The arising nonsmooth structural analysis problem has the form of a non-linear

complementarity problem. More details can be found, among

others, in [18].

The behavior in the tangential direction is ruled by the Coulomb

friction model, which exhibits a similar either-or variable structure, and unilateral behavior: No-slip is enforced if the frictional

force is within the limits, and slip with a constant friction force

is allowed at the limits. As with the contact problem, a complementarity problem also arises for friction.

The one-sided (unilateral) behavior, due to contact, and the

stick-slip mechanism of friction transform the usual variational

equality formulation of the mechanical problem into a variational

inequality [18]. In this study, for the enforcement of the contact

constraints, the penalty method has been chosen. The friction

problem can in principle be approached by using a similar method.

Finally, the coupled problem was solved by the Newton Raphson

incremental iterative procedure.

4.2. Model 1: isolated arch

In order to simplify the procedure, and to reduce the computational effort involved within the optimization problem, in the first

approximation the fill material was not explicitly simulated. This is

a safe side assumption (although it might be extremely conservative in some cases) since the beneficial contribution of the infill

disposed over the arch is neglected. The beneficial effects are

mainly the following [19]: First, the self-weight of the fill material

increases the stability of the arch by inducing additional compression forces. Second, the presence of infill allows a smoother distribution of the concentrated forces over the road surface up to the

extrados of the arch, and finally the infill effectively restrains the

earth pressures.

Therefore, in this model the contribution of the infill over the

stability of the arch was restricted to the vertical load corresponding to its self-weight. The lateral stiffening effect was accounted for

posteriorly in the second modeling approach. For the discretization

of the arch, 31 contact-friction interfaces connecting the linear

elastic bodies of the stone units were considered. This assumed

division is a close approximation of the number of interfaces

between the voussoirs used in the real arch. In [10] it is shown that

for a large number of interfaces, the limit load of the structure

asymptotically converges to one value, denoting that the exact

number of interfaces along the bridges geometry tends to be

meaningless in the case of many interfaces being used.

Meshing was based on the use of quadrilateral, eight-node

plane stress elements with two translational degrees of freedom

per node. A maximum global size of 0.20 m for the length of each

finite element was considered. The width of the bridge assumed in

the analysis was 3.00 m. Regarding the adopted material properties, they are shown in Table 1. The Youngs modulus of masonry

has been considered equal to 5 GPa, Poissons ratio 0.2 and density

2000 kg/m3.

For the contact interfaces, a friction coefficient of 0.60 in the

tangential direction with no tensile strength in the normal direction was assumed. As previously discussed, the Coulomb friction

model governs the behavior in the tangential direction, while the

normal direction obeys a unilateral contact law. The penalty

method was considered to enforce both the non-penetration constraint as well as the sticking conditions.

The analysis was carried out following two consecutive steps; at

the first step only the self-weight of the bridge was applied, and

the achieved equilibrium solution was then used as a set of initial

conditions for the second step, where the considered loading scenario was imposed. In applying boundary conditions in this first

model, only the two translational movements at the base of the

arch were restricted at the first step. These boundary conditions

were then modified at the second step to accommodate the variables of the optimization problem. The loading scenarios, boundary

conditions and geometry of the bridge will be further discussed in

392

Table 1

Mechanical properties adopted in the non-linear finite element models of the bridge.

Model

Density masonry

(kg/m3)

Density infill

(kg/m3)

Youngs modulus

masonry (GPa)

Youngs modulus

infill (GPa)

Poissons

ratio

Cohesion

(kPa)

Friction

angle ()

Model 1

Model 2

2000

2000

1800

5

5

0.5

0.2

0.2

30

30

the next section, when the details of the inverse problem will be

exposed.

4.3. Model 2: arch-infill interaction effects

In a second modeling strategy, to get a better insight into the

real mechanical behavior of the bridge, a non-linear finite element

model with the explicit representation of the fill material was

considered.

For the discretization of the arch, the same modeling approach

previously discussed was assumed, that is, a discrete finite element

approach with contact-friction interfaces. Moreover, the unilateral

contact-friction problem was extended to also model the arch-fill

interaction effects at the stones-infill boundary. A zero tensile

strength and a friction coefficient equal to 0.60 were respectively

used to model the normal and transversal behavior of the interfaces. The constraints at the interfaces were imposed by means

of a penalty formulation.

Stone blocks were modeled according to a linear elastic behavior with the same material properties indicated in the previous section. The infill was modeled according to the classical MohrCoulomb yield criterion. The values of the mechanical properties

assumed to model the fill material needs special attention. These

material data are usually unknown, or if available they are determined with some degree of uncertainty. In this study, these data

were not available. Consequently, the mechanical properties of

both the masonry and the infill were established based on a review

of the existing literature [2022], taking into account the type of

construction and the on-site inspections. Accordingly, the mechanical properties which were assumed in the non-linear finite element models of the bridge are shown in Table 1. Moreover, the

fixed values of the material parameters were assumed in the optimization process. The reason behind this assumption was to focus

the problem in the investigation of finding the theoretical initial

geometry of the bridge together with the most likely scenarios of

damage loading, as well as to reduce the search space, size and

complexity of the problem when a reduced number of optimization parameters are considered.

Both the arch and infill were discretized using two-dimensional

elements under the assumption of a plane strain state. The out-ofplane width of the bridge was the same as previously mentioned;

3.00 m. Meshing of the arch voussoirs was carried out considering

quadrilateral, eight-node elements with two translational degrees

of freedom per node, and with a maximum global size of 0.30 m

for the length of each finite element. For the infill discretization,

triangular six-node elements with two translational degrees of

freedom per node, and with a maximum global size for the length

of each finite element about 40% smaller with respect to the mesh

of the arch, were used. The size mesh was selected based on

obtaining a sufficient precision in the simulations, while the computational effort remains enclosed at reasonable times. Parametric

investigations were performed and in agreement the indicated values were chosen.

As for the loads, the same considerations discussed above for

the model without fill material were replicated here. With respect

to the boundary conditions, at the bottom part of the arch and the

infill, fixed conditions were imposed. On both sides of the infill,

only the longitudinal movements were restricted.

5.1. Optimization variables: initial geometry of the bridge and loading

scenarios

In the inverse problem various parameters can be considered.

The first group of variables defines the theoretical initial geometry

of the bridge. Furthermore, loading or other external excitations,

such as movement of the abutments that led to the measured damaged condition, must also be considered.

For the estimation of the initial geometry of the structure in the

undamaged configuration, a number of reasonable assumptions

have been considered. From Figs. 1 and 7 it can be clearly deduced

that the original shape of the structure obeyed a pointed arch,

although their respective proportions are unknown, and thus they

are some of the parameters to be obtained. In addition, field

inspections and the geometry acquired from the topographic survey (Fig. 7) show an asymmetric condition of the supports of the

bridge. The left abutment is placed in the middle of the river, while

the right abutment is situated at the edge of the river, next to the

soil material, at different heights with respect to each other. It is

possible that the original geometry of the arch was not already

symmetric, and thus this possibility was taken into account when

defining the geometry of the arch to perform numerical

simulations.

In general, the initial undamaged geometry of the arch was idealized on the basis of a few main measurements (span, principal

rises of the arch and thickness). Once they are estimated, the profile of the arch is defined by means of two perfect arches of circumference. More details are given in the forthcoming paragraphs, as

the strategy followed to define the geometry of the parametrized

numerical model is directly correlated with the estimation of the

possible loading scenarios.

With respect to the load cases, field examinations of the structure again gave rise to some theoretical assumptions. In Fig. 5, the

poor condition of the right abutment of the bridge (edge of the

river) was reported, a condition that was also noticed, although

to a lesser magnitude, in the left abutment (Fig. 6). This fact might

be attributed to the erosion of the foundation material as a consequence of the rivers flow. Under these circumstances, a scenario of

foundation settlements is likely to have occurred. When this situation takes place, the brittle nature of the masonry structures in

conjunction with their small tensile strength leads to the development of cracks that could seriously compromise their integrity.

As significant visible cracks are already present in Kakodiki

bridge, the displacements at the base of the abutments were chosen as variables of the inverse problem. To summarize, the following variables were considered in the optimization problem:

Three geometrical parameters related to the shape of the arch in

the initial undamaged configuration: rise at 1/2 span, rise at 1/4

span and rise at 3/4 span.

Four displacements comprising the hypothetical loading scenarios of the structure; the horizontal and vertical displacements at the base of both abutments.

This renders a total of seven variables whose values need to be

obtained. The way in which the geometry of the arch is defined is

393

Fig. 8. Graphical description of the optimization variables. The present geometry is depicted in black, and in red a possible solution to the optimization problem. (For

interpretation of the references to colour in this figure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)

two equidistant arches assuming the current thickness of the

arch to be 0.50 m.

At the end of the simulation, for an optimal fit of geometries, the

left and the right springing of the arch should coincide with the

actual ones (x1, y1 = (0, 0) and x2, y2 = (11.60, 0)) after the variables associated with the displacements at both supports have

been applied.

the displacements experimented in the numerical analysis of the

bridge:

The left springing of the arch in the current damaged shape is

considered to be centered at the point x, y = (0, 0); see Fig. 8.

Variables of the inverse problem will create a new geometry

based on relative measurements to this actual deformed shape.

We know that in the final state, the span of the arch has to be

11.60 m, the left springing has to be placed at the point

x, y = (0, 0) and similarly, the right springing at the point

x, y = (11.60, 0). Thus, let us assume that we want to apply a

horizontal displacement at the left support equal to a certain

magnitude a (m), a vertical displacement at the left support

equal to b (m) and a horizontal displacement at the right support equal to c (m) to the numerical model of the bridge.

The theoretical initial geometry of the arch will be based on

these assumptions. Accordingly, the left springing will be placed

at the point x, y = (a, b) and the right springing at the point x,

y = (11.60 + c, 0), being the theoretical initial span of arch equal

to 11.60 + a + c (m).

Posteriorly, the other variables that define the shape of the

intrados of the arch will be relative to these two points. The rise

at 1/2 span and the rise at 1/4 span are relative to the left

springing, while the rise at 3/4 span is relative to the right

springing. Once the left springing, right springing and rises are

defined, we can create two perfect arches of circumference that

pass by these 3 points, one on each half of the span. As for the

arch, the geometric optimization parameters (see Fig. 8) are

restricted to taking values between certain lower and upper

bounds to define the search space. With that aim, the actual geometry of the bridge was taken into account. As can be seen in Fig. 7,

the arch in its current deformed shape presents the following

ratios:

Rise at 1/4 span to rise at 1/2 span equal to 0.71.

Rise at 3/4 span to rise at 1/2 span equal to 0.64.

Thus, it is expected that these ratios in the original geometry of

the bridge do not differ greatly. Accordingly, the lower and upper

limits indicated in Table 2 were assumed, where the mentioned

ratios vary between 0.63 and 0.76.

As for the parameters related to the load cases, they were established according to the pattern of hinges already present in the

bridge. Following Heyman [23], when a movement of the abutments takes place decreasing the length of the original span, the

Table 2

Lower and upper bounds considered for the variables of the inverse problem.

Parameter

Designation

Vertical displacement, left abutment

Horizontal displacement, right abutment

Vertical displacement, right abutment

Rise at 1/4 span, rise at 3/4 span

Rise at 1/2 span

a

b

c

d

e, g

f

0/0.05 (y) direction

0/0.125 (x) direction

0/0.125 (y) direction

3.15/3.60

4.75/5.00

394

Fig. 9. Set of points in the intrados of the arch used in the simulations.

three hinges. One of them will be at the crown in the intrados of

the arch (thus opening of the outer surface of the ring will take

place) and the others at each abutment side in the extrados of

the arch (thus opening of the inner surface will occur). This has

also been numerically indicated in [24].

Thereby, after performing several parametric analyses within

the previously outlined parameter identification procedure, the

values indicated in Table 2 were adopted. In this way, the usual

high computational cost associated with optimization procedures

based on a genetic algorithm is also kept within reasonable limits.

To be able to quantify the error obtained when comparing the

current damaged condition of the bridge with the numerical predictions, data about both states as well as a criterion to perform

the comparison are needed. In this research, it was assumed that

the fit of geometries takes place along the points located in the

intrados of the arch ring. The real joint coordinates are compared

with the numerical ones, which are the result of an assumed theoretical initial geometry of the bridge plus the displacements experimented in the non-linear analysis.

For the current condition, the geometric data proportioned by

the topographic survey were used. For the computational models,

similar points placed at the intrados of the arch were considered.

Thus, a set of nodes/points were defined on each parametrized

numerical model in agreement with the number of interfaces considered. As a representative example, in Fig. 9 these points are

highlighted in the intrados line of the arch with a red1 circle.

The final position of the joints in the numerical model and their

respective coordinates, after the implementation of the hypothetical loading scenarios, can be simply computed in this way:

Coordinates of Final Position (x) = Coordinates of Theoretical

Initial Geometry (x) + Displacements of the Arch (x).

Coordinates of Final Position (y) = Coordinates of Theoretical

Initial Geometry (y) + Displacements of the Arch (y).

1

For interpretation of color in Fig. 9, the reader is referred to the web version of

this article.

bridge is relative to its current damaged condition, as well as to

the variables related to load cases (displacements at the abutments), the implementation of possible loading scenarios should

give as a result that both springings on the real arch and on the

numerical model must coincide.

Under this assumption, the comparison of both geometries is

reduced to the best fit between the shapes of the intrados in both

arches. Notwithstanding, this comparison is not straightforward.

The definition of the interfaces in the numerical model was based

on a uniform division along the perimeter of the arch, which contrasts with the irregular division present in the real structure. As a

consequence, the coordinates in the (x) direction of the interfaces

from both geometries differ, and do not allow a direct comparison.

To overcome this limitation, it was decided to define an interpolation function, the Piecewise Cubic Hermite Interpolating Polynomial (PCHIP). This function takes the exact values of the

coordinates in the discrete set of points belonging to the interfaces

of the numerical model. Then, the following procedure is applied:

All the coordinates in the (x) direction of the real geometry are

normalized to the interval [0, 1], that is, each point in the (x)

direction will be rearranged as: Normalized Coordinate (x)

= Coordinate (x)/span.

For each point of this vector, we will find the corresponding

point on those resulting from the combination of the theoretical

initial geometry of the arch plus the displacements experimented in the numerical analysis.

Evaluate the PCHIP function at these points in order to obtain

their corresponding coordinate (y).

Now we can directly compare for the real points of the arch,

their coordinates in the (y) direction with respect to the predictions from the numerical simulations.

Note that if either the theoretical initial geometry of the arch is

not adequate, or the displacements at the base of the abutments

are incorrect preventing the model from completing the simulation

(the structure has not collapsed yet), both springings will not coincide (see Fig. 10). However, this is precisely what we are looking

for, as the deviations between both geometries are computed

and the objective function will penalize these values of the optimization variables, and will continue searching for others that

minimize the error in fit.

395

for the structural analysis stage on the basis of the information

contained in these python files. The python scripts enable us to

define a completely parametrized finite element model with all

its aspects easily modified from the user requirements. The

python scripts are not only responsible for starting the structural analysis with the geometry and the loading scenarios

defined at each step of the optimization analysis, but also for

managing the results of the simulation to be transferred back

to the Matlab routine.

During the third stage, the objective function is evaluated and

the genetic algorithm estimates a new set of values for the optimization parameters. The procedure is then repeated iteratively

until the stopping criteria for the algorithm is reached, which in

this investigation consisted of reaching a maximum number of

generations.

between the points of the intrados of the arch provided by the FE model and those

belonging to the actual geometry.

The objective function to be minimized is defined as the difference between the estimated geometry after simulation compared

to the current damaged one, or in other words, a scalar measure

of the existing deviations between them. Accordingly, an error

function of the least-squares form, was adopted:

n

1X

^ j y j 2

y

n j1

!1=2

4

cal axis resulting from the coupling of the theoretical initial geometry of the arch and the displacements obtained from numerical

simulation; yj = the vector containing the joints coordinates on

the vertical axis from the real measured data; n = number of points

considered along the intrados of the arch ring.

The implementation of the inverse problem involves the use of

two software packages, Matlab [25] and Abaqus [26]. A code developed in Matlab executes the main core of the procedure (overall

definition of the parameters that compose the structural models,

implementation of the optimization problem resorting to a genetic

algorithm, connection between both computer software packages,

etc.), while Abaqus was used mainly for structural analysis purposes. The details of the sequence of the iterative process are given

below:

At the first step the search space for the optimization variables

is established. The other parameters, which are considered fixed

during the optimization process such as the material properties,

modeling of the unilateral contact and friction and the size of

the mesh, are also defined. In each iteration, and on the basis

of the values of the optimization variables, Matlab generates

both a text and dxf file with the geometric data concerning

the definition of the bridge. A set of python files with all the

information regarding the finite element model definition,

which allows the scripting of the analysis and the automatic

execution of the simulations, are also updated according to

the values taken by the optimization parameters.

seen in Fig. 11.

As for the details of all the optimization runs, the genetic algorithm was based on a population size of 25 individuals with a maximum number of generations equal to 75. As previously reported,

each chromosome consists of 7 genes corresponding to the 7

parameters of the inverse problem. The initial population was generated randomly with real numbers between 0 and 1.

For the sequence of creating new populations, 1 individual (elitism) was chosen to automatically pass to the next generation. The

fraction of new individuals (children), other than elite, created by

the crossover was established as being 75% and the remaining percentage was assigned to the mutation children. The selection of

parents attended to the stochastic uniform method [23] and the

scaling of the fitness value to a rank-based method [23]. For both

of the adopted structural models, Model 1 considering the isolated

arch and Model 2 including the fill material, three independent

optimization runs considering different initial populations were

carried out. All the simulations were run on a computer with

quad-core Intel Core i7-4702HQ at 2.20 GHz and 16 GB RAM.

The computational time needed in each individual was approximately 35 s for the analysis of the bridge considering Model 1

and 95 s for Model 2.

7. Results and discussion for the inverse analysis

In this section the results of the parameter identification problem are given. First, the results when a heavy but no resistant infill

is considered are presented, followed by the results when the infill

is explicitly included in the non-linear finite element model.

7.1. Results for Model 1

For Model 1, Table 3 summarizes the results obtained from the

inverse analysis procedure. In Fig. 12 the three optimization runs

performed are plotted, the evolution of the optimization process

in terms of objective function value versus population generation

number. Additionally, Fig. 13 shows for the parameters estimated

in the second optimization run, the deformed (damaged) shape

of the bridge at the end of the finite element analysis.

As the fill material is not considered, the output of the model is

focused on the developing and positioning of the pattern of hinges

in the body of the arch. Two cracks have opened at the intrados of

the arch, one at the left springing and the other one at 78% of the

span; a third crack is also located at the extrados of the ring at

the top of the arch.

Finally, in Fig. 14, and also considering the three optimization

runs performed, the deviations between the predicted values of

396

Table 3

Values of the identified parameters for Model 1.

Run

a (m)

b (m)

c (m)

d (m)

e (m)

f (m)

g (m)

1

2

3

0.041

0.050

0.048

0.043

0.050

0.042

0.087

0.094

0.083

0.088

0.072

0.082

3.46

3.44

3.46

4.93

4.91

4.93

3.26

3.26

3.25

Fig. 12. Objective function value versus population generation number (Model 1).

the (y) coordinates along the intrados of the arch with respect to

the real ones are presented. Note that in this figure, the coordinates

of the joints along the (x) direction are normalized to values in the

interval [0, 1], in agreement with the exposed in Section 5.2.

inverse analysis procedure. In Fig. 15 the three optimization runs

performed are plotted, the evolution of the optimization process

in terms of error function value versus population generation

number.

In Fig. 16, along with the map of the plastic strains in the infill,

the deformed (damaged) shape of the bridge after the finite element simulation of Model 2 is depicted with the optimal values

yielded by the first run of the genetic algorithm. Three hinges have

developed, two cracks at the intrados of the ring (at 31% and 76% of

the span, respectively) and the other one at the extrados of the

ring, at the top of the arch.

In addition, the damaged condition of the infill is observed in

those areas close to the appearance of the cracks, as well as in

two additional areas where the damage spreads from the springings of the arch to the bottom parts of the abutments. Overall,

the picture is a significantly good approximation with respect to

the real, damaged condition of the bridge, as reported in Section 2.

Fig. 17 shows, from the values of the identified parameters in

the first optimization run, the theoretical initial geometry of the

bridge against the present deformed shape. Finally, Figs. 18 and

19 show a comparison between the intrados line of the arch after

simulation with respect to the real one. Fig. 18 represents a visual

fit between both geometries, while Fig. 19 gives quantitative

397

Fig. 13. Damaged shape of the bridge (Model 1) from the parameters estimated in the second optimization run.

Fig. 15. Objective function value versus population generation number (Model 2).

Fig. 14. Deviation between the (y) coordinates of the joints along the span of the

arch (Model 1).

coordinates of the joints.

material data, have been used for the sensitivity analysis. From

the results summarized in Tables 5 and 6, one clearly recognizes

that the sensitivities of the last group of parameters are much

lower than the sensitivities of the first group. Therefore, the choice

of important parameters is fully justified.

7.4. Discussion

the subsequent reduction of the model by ignoring the ones that

do not influence the results, a sensitivity analysis study has been

performed by using finite differences around the solution of the

inverse problem (the mean of the three optimizations runs). Both

the parameters already presented in Section 5.1, as well as the

and 15), in both Models 1 and 2 the smallest error function value

was similar. The best solution of Model 1 was equal to 0.0158 (second run of the genetic algorithm), while for Model 2 it was 0.0155

(first run of the genetic algorithm). For Model 1, convergence

seems to be attained around the 40th generation of population

Table 4

Values of the identified parameters for Model 2.

Run

a (m)

b (m)

c (m)

d (m)

e (m)

f (m)

g (m)

1

2

3

0.035

0.031

0.029

0.015

0.030

0.013

0.046

0.041

0.052

0.054

0.038

0.031

3.49

3.49

3.49

4.95

4.94

4.93

3.27

3.28

3.28

398

Fig. 16. Damaged shape of the bridge (Model 2) from the parameters estimated in the first optimization run.

Fig. 17. Theoretical initial geometry of the bridge against the actual geometry.

Fig. 18. Visual fit between the intrados guideline after simulation and the real

measured data.

Fig. 19. Deviation between the (y) coordinates of the joints along the span of the

arch (Model 2).

399

Table 5

Sensitivity analysis: geometric parameters.

Model

1

2

0.0688

0.1312

0.0654

0.1300

0.0102

0.0206

0.0379

0.0423

0.0451

0.0540

0.0153

0.0091

0.0248

0.0182

Table 6

Sensitivity analysis: material parameters.

Model

Cohesion

Friction angle

1

2

1.0217e10

1,2787e11

3,1537e09

2,5842e05

3,1134e06

generation. In general, the results of the three optimizations runs,

based on different initial populations, led to similar values of the

parameters. For the geometric variables in particular, the range

of variation in each model is almost negligible. The horizontal

and vertical displacements at the abutments were identified with

less accuracy using the available measurement points. Different

combinations of these parameters leads to similar values of the

error function. Nonetheless, the variability is of less importance if

we consider the absolute displacement at the base of each

abutment, which might indicate that it is only this parameter that

matters for the solution. In Model 1, the absolute displacement at

the left abutment varies between 6.00 cm and 7.00 cm, while at the

right abutment the range of variation is from 11.50 cm up to

12.50 cm. As for Model 2, at the left abutment the absolute displacement varies between 3.00 cm and 4.00 cm, and from

5.50 cm up to 7.00 cm for the right abutment.

As a matter of fact, limitations arise when using Model 1 for the

inverse analysis procedure. For the predicted damaged shape of the

bridge (Fig. 13), although a relatively good fit between the real

geometric data and the numerical predictions is shown in Fig. 14,

a proper final pattern of hinges is not achieved through the use

of this model.

Hinge 2 at the crown of the arch and hinge 3 at 78% of the span

are relatively well predicted. Nonetheless, hinge 1 is developing at

the left springing of the arch, far away from its real position.

Regarding the optimization variables, in general, Model 1 in comparison with Model 2 predicts lower values for all the parameters

associated with the original geometry of the bridge. The greater

differences are associated with the rises at 1/2 span and 1/4 span.

Additionally, the theoretical initial span (11.7311.74 m) presents

a relatively high value in comparison with the actual state

(11.60 m), as well as with the results provided by Model 2

(11.6711.68 m). However, the major discrepancies occur for the

predicted loading scenarios, where large displacements at the base

of both abutments were received from all the optimizations runs.

These values, in spite of the poor condition of the abutments, are

unlikely to be realistic.

The shortcomings of Model 1 are overtaken by adopting a more

sophisticated approach in Model 2. As expected, when the infill is

explicitly considered in the structural model, a significant impact

in the structural response of the bridge was observed. Note in

Fig. 16 the damaged shape of the bridge at the end of the inverse

analysis procedure when considering Model 2. Here, a more similar

picture to the real damaged state was achieved. The pattern of

hinges is well reproduced with good precision even in their positioning inside the body of the arch. Hinge 1 is located at 31% of

the span, hinge 2 at the crown of the arch and hinge 3 at 76% of

the span. The fit between geometries, as shown in Figs. 18 and

19, from the yielded values of computational model and the real

measured data of the bridge, also reveals a satisfactory agreement.

1/2 of the span of about 4.95 m, a rise at 1/4 of the span of about

3.50 m and a rise at 3/4 of the span of about 3.30 m. From these

values, a geometric ratios of e/f equal to 0.70 and g/f equal to

0.66 are derived, which are compared to the real ones of 0.71

and 0.64. The agreement between these geometric ratios in the real

and predicted data is found after the settlement scenario takes

place. Due to the movement of the abutments, with the length of

the span being reduced, the crown of the arch is pushed upwards,

which results in an increase in the rise at mid-span. Accordingly,

hinge number 2 is developed, followed by the formation of hinge

1 and hinge 3. In the shortening of the span, hinge 1 acts as a pivot

point with an increase in the rise at 1/4 of the span as well. For

hinge number 3, a similar reasoning could be applied. In this case,

the asymmetrical nature of the bridge together with the movement

of the right abutment cause a greater part of this side of the arch to

move downwards, developing hinge number 3 at a higher location

than hinge number 1, also leading to a decrease in the rise at 3/4 of

the span. This decrease, in conjunction with the increase in the rise

at mid-span causes the ratio g/f to finally go down up to the value

present in the current geometry of the bridge.

From a comparison of the results provided by both models,

some conclusions can be drawn regarding the study of Kakodiki

bridge. The simplified nature of Model 1 is unable to mimic in a

precise way the structural response of the bridge, and highlights

the importance of choosing an appropriate mathematical model

able to accurately reflect the real systems behavior, to provide satisfactory results in the inverse analysis problem. Directly related to

this, the effect of infill could not be limited to the vertical load corresponding to its self-weight, but the lateral stiffening effect over

the arch should also be considered. In this particular case, the main

consequence of this aspect corresponds with the pushing of hinge

1 from the springing of the arch in Model 1 up to their position in

Model 2, very close to the real one. Nevertheless, it should be taken

into account that this was achieved at the expense of adding more

uncertainties to the problem regarding the constitutive parameters

of the infill, as well as of increasing the computational effort with

respect to the more simplified approach of Model 1.

It is worth pointing out that in general, when applying inverse

analysis techniques to complex real problems, the procedure is

inevitably affected by the measurement uncertainties and the simplified nature of mathematical models. In addition, the use of finite

element simulations typically results in a complex topology of the

objective function, with the possibility that a unique solution to

the problem does not exist. Thus, in these cases, when using a

genetic algorithm-based optimization, although it is a highly efficient technique for searching global minima, there is no guarantee

of converging to a unique optimum solution viewed from a mathematical point of view. Instead, we should expect to obtain a set of

optimum solutions, representative of the real data to be posteriorly

assessed by proper engineering judgment.

400

For the case study of Kakodiki bridge, despite the many uncertainties of the problem, as well as the fact that further research is

needed regarding the impact of infill material properties, the

results obtained here could be deemed satisfactory.

The damage pattern is reproduced with reasonable accuracy

even with the consideration of the appraisal of the hinges positions. The dimensions of the theoretical initial geometry of the arch

are in agreement with the a priori expected values, and the

predicted loading scenarios, although exhibiting relatively high

values, also seem to be consistent with the poor condition of the

abutments and the overall damaged state of the bridge.

8. Conclusions

In this paper, a novel methodology based on inverse modeling

was proposed to investigate the causes that led a masonry bridge

to a certain pathological condition. A real case study located in

Kakodiki village on the island of Crete (Greece) was considered

for the application of the proposed computational scheme. The

bridge presents an important damaged condition, with three main

cracks having developed in the body of the arch. Thus, both the initial undamaged geometry of the structure as well as the possible

load cases that cause this damage are under investigation.

The problem can be formulated as a parameter identification

problem and solved by adopting an iterative optimization procedure. Different loading scenarios and undamaged configurations

of the bridge are evaluated at each step until a satisfactory convergence between the real damaged condition and the numerically

predicted one is obtained. Through this process, a completely

parameterized numerical model, able to accommodate a new

geometry and loading conditions at each step of the iterative procedure, is needed. In this study, two non-linear finite element models, based on the principles of the non-smooth mechanics were

adopted to model the mechanical performance of Kakodiki bridge.

In the first model, only the arch was considered as being relevant

in the structural response of the bridge, and a two-dimensional

discrete finite element approach with contact-friction interfaces

was adopted. In the second model, fill material was added to

account for arch-infill interaction effects, and an elastoplastic

material law was adopted to represent its behavior.

To perform the comparison, accurate geometric data about the

current deformed shape of the arch are needed. In this study, the

coordinates of the joints between the voussoirs were used as reference targets for the inverse analysis.

The hypothesis about the likely theoretical initial geometry of

the bridge as well as potential damage loading scenarios were

based on the field examinations of the structure. As such, the arch

was idealized with a pointed profile and the movements at the

base of both abutments were selected as the optimization parameters that most influence the development of the damaged condition of the bridge. In view of the arising complex topology of the

error function, a genetic algorithm was chosen to perform the optimization analysis. Three different optimization runs considering

different initial populations were carried out in each model to

assess the reliability of the parameter identification and the

robustness of the algorithm. The results showed that the simplified

choice of a numerical model neglecting the explicit representation

of the fill material does not provide accurate results. The damage

pattern was not successfully reproduced, the theoretical initial

geometry of the bridge was underestimated and the load cases

were overestimated. For the model including the arch-infill interaction effects, satisfactory results were received if we take into

account the complexity of the problem and the level of the uncertainties present. The damage pattern was reproduced with reasonable accuracy, even with the consideration of the appraisal in the

hinges positions. The identified parameters show negligible variations regarding the geometric dimensions of the arch and acceptable ones for the predicted scenarios of the foundation

settlements. Overall, the dimensions of the theoretical initial

geometry of the arch seem to be in accordance with the a priori

expected values and the predicted loading scenarios, although

exhibiting relatively high values, also seem to be consistent with

the poor condition of the abutments and the overall damaged state

of the bridge. Thus, we can state that the outcome of the proposed

methodology might be of great interest for providing valuable

information regarding the planning of maintenance actions, as well

as to the selection of optimal remedial measures (strengthening).

Further studies could contemplate validation in additional case

studies, as well as exploring surrogate-based optimization strategies to reduce the computational effort. Finally, and for the case

study of Kakodiki bridge, the necessity of immediately commencing restoration works in order to prevent its collapse is indicated.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the help of several people from the Municipality of Kandanos who helped them to gather

material from the Kakodiki bridge, namely former Mayor Mr. Eftychios Daskalakis, Mr. Eftychios Korkidakis, Mr. Kostis Petrakis and

Deputy Mayor Mrs Stella Alfieri.

This work has been partially supported by the Spanish Ministry

of Economy and Competitiveness through the project HERMESS3D: Healthy and Efficient Routes in Massive Open-Data based

Smart Cities (Ref.: TIN2013-46801-C4-4-R).

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