Fatigue damage prognosis of steel bridges under traffic loading using a time-based crack growth method

Yang Yu, Bianca Kurian, Wei Zhang, C. S. Cai, Yongming Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Traditionally, the fatigue damage assessment of steel bridges is conducted using cycle-based methods. Cycle-based methods require stress time history be transformed to cycle history first before fatigue analysis can be performed. However, well-defined cycle history does not exist for the traffic-induced stress time history of bridges as it contains numerous large and small cycles with random stress ranges embedded together. To address this inherent difficulty, a time-based fatigue crack growth (FCG) model is proposed for fatigue damage prognosis of steel bridges under traffic loading. The time-based FCG method describes the crack growth in the time domain through a crack growth kinetics function derived based on the physical mechanism of fatigue crack propagation. To demonstrate the proposed method, numerical simulations are first performed using full-scale coupled vehicle-bridge interaction framework to generate stress time histories of a typical steel bridge under traffic loading. Then, FCG analysis is performed using the time-based method and the effects of road surface roughness and vehicle weight on the FCG are studied. Finally, a case study on the I-10 Twin Span Bridge is presented to demonstrate the time-based FCG method for fatigue damage prognosis using in situ monitoring data. The results show that the proposed method can be used to directly predict the FCG of steel bridges in the time domain using stress time histories obtained either from stress analysis or in situ monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112162
JournalEngineering Structures
StatePublished - Jun 15 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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