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The bearings are provided at both the ends of
a bridge girder. One end of the bridge girder is
fixed in position while, the other end is kept
free for the horizontal movement.

The bearings are provided for the following

1- The bearings are provided to transmit the
end reaction to the abutments and/ or piers and
to distribute it uniformly, so that the bearing
stress does not exceed the allowable bearing
stress of the material.
2- The bearings are provided to allow the
movement in the longitudinal direction
(expansion and contraction) due to change in
temperature and stresses.
3-The bearings are provided to allow rotation at
the ends, when the bridge girders are loaded
and deflections take place.

Bridge bearings are of two general

1. Expansion.
2. Fixed.

The expansion bearings provide for rotational

movements of the girders as well as
longitudinal movement for the expansion and
contraction of the bridge spans.
If an expansion bearing develops a large
resistance to longitudinal movement due to
corrosion or other causes, this frictional force
opposes the natural expansion or contraction
of the span creating a force within the span
that could lead to a maintenance problem in
the future.

The fixed bearing acts as a hinge by
while at the same time preventing
longitudinal movement.
The function of the fixed bearing is
to prevent the superstructure from
moving longitudinally off of the
substructure units.


Depending upon the magnitude of end
reaction, and the span of bridge, the different
types of bearings used for the bridges are as



2-Rocker bearings
3-Roller bearings.
4-Bearing adopted by Railway Board.


1-Plate bearings (Sliding& hinged

Plate bearings are simplest type of
bearings. The plate bearings are
used small spans upto 15 m and
small end reaction of the bridge.
Fig. 13-1 shows a plate bearing. The
plate bearing consists of two plates.

A sole plate is attached to the bridge. The

sole plate rests on bearing. The bearing plate
is anchored to the concrete. The two anchor
bolts fixed in concrete pass through the
bearing plate and the sole plate. The size of
bearing plate is found by the end reaction and
the allowable bearing pressure on the
concrete. The plates are made rigid to
distribute the end reaction as uniformly as
possibly over the required area of the
When the anchor bolts pass through the
circular holes in the sole plate, then, the plate
bearings act as hinged bearing. One end of the
bridge girder is hinged or anchored to the

The hinged bearings are designed for the end

reaction (vertical load) and the lateral forces.
The magnitudes of end reactions used are
large. Therefore, the fixed bearings designed
for end reactions (vertical loads) only strong
enough to take the lateral forces.
In order to allow the longitudinal movement,
the slotted holes are provided in the sole plate.
In order to reduce the friction, the surfaces of
sole plate and bearing plate in contact are well
machined and smoothly finished. The sole
plate can slide upon the bearing plate. The
plate bearings act as expansion bearings of
sliding type. In the expansion bearing, the

2-Hinged (Rocker)
Fig. 13-8 shows a typical rocker bearing.

Fig. 13-8

The cast steel sole and cast steel bearing

block are used in these types of bearings. A
cylindrical pin is inserted in between the cast
steel sole and the cast steel bearing block.
This pin allows rotations at the ends of bridge
girder. The rocker bearing acts as hinged
bearing. The end reaction of a bridge girder is
transmitted to the pin
by direct bearing through the sole attached
with the girder. The vertical plates are used to
transmit the end reaction. The number of
plates (two or three) depends upon the
magnitude of end reaction. The end reaction is
further transmitted to the cast steel bearing

Two outer vertical plates completely encircle the

pin. In case, the bearing is subjected to an
uplift, then, the uplift is resisted by theses
plates. The middle plates provide only bearing
with the cylindrical surface of the pin. The
required bearing area is provided by the product
of total thickness of plates and the diameter of
pin. The thicknesses of all the plates are kept
equal. Therefore, the end reaction is
transmitted equally by these plates. The value
of bending moment is found by multiplying
force transmitted by outer plate of the sole to
the outer plate of bearing block and center to
center distance between these plates. The size
of base plate is found by the allowable bearing

The rocker bearing are also bearings are also

subjected to lateral and longitudinal forces in
addition to the end reaction (vertical loads).
The increase of end reaction due to lateral and
longitudinal forces is also taken into
consideration. The lateral forces and the
longitudinal forces are assumed to act at the
level of cylindrical pin of the rocker bearing.
The base plate is subjected to moment along
both the directions. The total bearing stress in
the concrete should not exceed the allowable
bearing stress.
The rocker bearings are designed for the end
reaction and then checked for lateral forces
and longitudinal forces.

In the rocker bearing for free end of the bridge

girder the underside of sole is curved, which
rotates on the horizontal bearing plates and
allows longitudinal movement. This acts as
rocker type expansion.

3-Roller bearings.
The roller bearings as shown in Fig. 13-9 are
also used for the long span bridges. Fig. 3.55
(A) shows a single roller used in the bearing.

The rollers provide the rotation as well as the

longitudinal movement. Fig. 3.55 (B) shows
number of rollers used in the bearing. The
bearings act as roller type expansion
bearings. The rollers are kept in position by
means of dowels, lugs or keys as shown in
Fig. 3.55 (A).
The roller bearings for spans above span 35

So long as, the size of rollers is small, the

complete circular rollers are provided. When
the size of rollers become large, then, the
sides of rollers are cut in order to reduce the
length of the sole, and to make the bearings
more compact. These rollers with cut sides are
known as segmental rollers.




Fig 13-9


In order to avoid overturning or displacement of

these rollers, these are geared with upper and
lower plates. The spacing between segmental
rollers and the width of rollers may by found as
It is assumed that the rollers don not slip but
only roll during rolling. When, the roller rolls to
the maximum position, as shown in Fig. 13-10,



Fig 13-10