Fatigue analysis and life prediction of composite highway bridge decks under traffic loading


Lat. Am. j. solids struct.




Steel and composite (steel-concrete) highway bridges are currently subjected to dynamic actions of variable magnitude due to convoy of vehicles crossing on the deck pavement. These dynamic actions can generate the nucleation of fractures or even their propagation on the bridge deck structure. Proper consideration of all of the aspects mentioned pointed our team to develop an analysis methodology with emphasis to evaluate the stresses through a dynamic analysis of highway bridge decks including the action of vehicles. The design codes recommend the application of the curves S-N associated to the Miner's damage rule to evaluate the fatigue and service life of steel and composite (steel-concrete) bridges. In this work, the developed computational model adopted the usual mesh refinement techniques present in finite element method simulations implemented in the ANSYS program. The investigated highway bridge is constituted by four longitudinal composite girders and a concrete deck, spanning 40.0m by 13.5m. The analysis methodology and procedures presented in the design codes were applied to evaluate the fatigue of the bridge determining the service life of the structure. The main conclusions of this investigation focused on alerting structural engineers to the possible distortions, associated to the steel and composite bridge's service life when subjected to vehicle's dynamic actions.

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