Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-17-2018


Solar Radiation, bridges, temperature distribution, superstructure


Solar radiation is one of the most important factors influencing the temperature distribution on bridge girder cross-sections. The bridge temperature distribution can be estimated using estimation models that incorporate solar radiation data; however, such data could be cost- or time-prohibitive to obtain. A review of literature was carried out on estimation models for solar radiation parameters, including the global solar radiation, beam solar radiation and diffuse solar radiation. Solar radiation data from eight cities in Fujian Province in southeastern China were obtained on site. Solar radiation models applicable to Fujian, China were proposed and verified using the measured data. The linear Ångström–Page model (based on sunshine duration) can be used to estimate the daily global solar radiation. The Collares-Pereira and Rabl model and the Hottel model can be used to estimate the hourly global solar radiation and the beam solar radiation, respectively. Three bridges were chosen as case study, for which the temperature distribution on girder cross-sections were monitored on site. Finite element models (FEM) of cross-sections of bridge girders were implemented using the Midas program. The temperature–time curves obtained from FEM showed very close agreement with the measured values for summertime. Ignoring the solar radiation effect would result in lower and delayed temperature peaks. However, the influence of solar radiation on the temperature distribution in winter is negligible.