The course of “Theory and design of Bridges” is part of the master's degree program in Civil Engineering for Natural Risk Mitigation, which aims to train a civil engineer with high professional qualifications concerning the hydrogeological and seismic risk mitigation.

As part of the Master degree program, the course of Theory and design of Bridges aims to provide students with the basic knowledge and analysis tools necessary to deal with the design of simple road and railway small/medium span bridges (box-girder and I-girder), both with prestressed concrete and steel-concrete composite decks. The design criteria, the currently available analysis and constructional methods will be analyzed.

At the end of the course, students will acquire the necessary skills to 1) design the main elements (r.c. slab, deck girders, piers, abutments and foundations) of small/medium span bridges, 2) analyze their structural behavior using simplified and refined models (F.E.M.), even in the presence of rheological behaviors and non-linear phenomena, 3) apply to the main elements of a bridge the design and the assessment methods prescribed by the Italian Code and the Eurocodes, both in ultimate (SLU) and serviceability (SLE) conditions, as well as in presence of exceptional loads such an earthquake, 3) carry out professional structural drawings.
teacher profile | teaching materials


Introduction. History. Classification of bridges by typology and material, Actions on road bridges, Actions on railway bridges, Main constructive elements of bridges, Decks: the distribution of loads, influence lines, Main typologies of decks, Local effects: verification of R.C. slabs, Local effects: verification of orthotropic plates, Local effects: Box girder decks, Distribution of transverse loads: Beam girder decks, Distribution of transverse loads: Box girder decks, Reinforced concrete and prestressed concrete decks: shrinkage and creep effects, Steel decks: fatigue, instability of plates, Construction methods of bridges, Piers and abutments, Bearings, Foundations, Seismic design of bridges, Seismic isolation, Cable-stayed bridges (outline), Suspension bridges (outline), Aeroelastic phenomena (outline)
In addition to lectures, some class exercises are developed, during which the design of a simple bridge will be carried out by small groups of 2-4 students. The presentation and the discussion of the bridge design represents an essential part of the final examination.

Core Documentation

- Pietrangeli M.P.: Progettazione e costruzione di ponti. CEA Milano, 1996
- Aicap dettagli costruttivi di strutture in calcestruzzo armato
- Aicap commentario dm 14.01.2008 (NTC2008)
- Leonhardt, Fritz, I ponti : dimensionamento, tipologia, costruzione, Milano : Edizioni Tecniche, 1979
- Dispense e slides del docente

Reference Bibliography

Di Wai-Fah Chen,Lian Duan: Bridge engineering handbook. CRC Press Di Petros P. Xanthakos: Theory and design of bridges. J.Wiley & Sons Priestley, Seible, Calvi: Seismic design and retrofit of bridges. J.Wiley & Sons

Type of delivery of the course

Face to face learning and in-class exercises

Type of evaluation

The student will develop autonomously an exercise on a prestressed reinforced concrete or steel-concrete composite bridge. The exam consists of an oral test on topics covered during the lectures and a discussion on the exercise.