Bridge Urheberrecht: © STB

Bridge Fatigue Guidance - Meeting Sustainable Design and Assessment

Short description

The service lives of prospective and existing steel and composite bridges are invariably governed by fatigue, making thus their adequate fatigue performance essential for their competitiveness. Unfortunately, actual design rules not only are becoming outdated for the design, both in terms of the coverage of design details and applicability to modern structural analysis methods, but have also never been adapted to address maintenance issues such as inspection and repair.

Reducing life-cycle costs and increasing safety of structures are, in general, the main aims for the construction sector. In order to improve sustainability within the construction sector, best practices are obviously needed. A comprehensive best practise guide , which encompasses the current state-of-the-art for the sustainable fatigue design and assessment of metallic bridges, does not exist at present. Consequently, the aim of this project is to develop bridge fatigue guidance for the sustainable design and assessment of steel bridges subjected to fatigue.

Several methods and techniques for the fatigue design and assessment of S&C bridges are treated in the project. Particular attention will be paid to alternative fatigue assessment methods in comparison with the traditional nominal stress-based approach. These are supposed to include the hot-spot stress approach, with guidance on its practical application in conjunction with finite element stress analysis, and the application of probabilistic fracture mechanics (PFM), neither of which have been sufficiently developed for application on bridges. In view of the fact that these issues have been more or less standardised and hence used extensively in the offshore industry in the past twenty or so years, it is considered timely that similar approaches are adopted in the European bridge industry. Design models, which account for a number of complex fatigue-related issues (multiaxial fatigue), will also be implemented and improved. Existing monitoring and NDT methods will be studied for specific application to fatigue assessment of S&C bridges.

Especially. RWTH deals within this project with in-plane multi-axial fatigue issues and PFM concerning riveted structures. Furthermore, research on orthotropic bridge details (future loadings and reinforcing measurements)will be carried out both numerical and experimental at the RWTH.

Research program



Duration of project

11/2017 - 10/2019

Contact person

Markus Feldmann