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Fatigue crack modeling in bridge deck connection details
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    Many steel bridges built prior to 1960 have bridge deck connections that are subject to high cycle fatigue. These connections may be nearing their fatigue limit and will require increased inspection and repair over the next 10 - 20 years. Current inspection and repair are very expensive and only address those details which contain visible cracks. The goal of this research was to develop a methodology to identify problem details - those which are nearing the end of their serviceable life, but may not yet contain visible cracks. One Oregon bridge on Interstate 5 with this problem was studied to assess the loading conditions and fatigue crack growth rate for the connection details. The objective was to use the analysis from this bridge to develop a predictive model of connection detail fatigue life, which could be applied to other bridges. Such a model could be used to guide the inspection and repair process, significantly reducing costs. Finite element modeling methods were used to characterize the structure, and fracture mechanics was used to estimate the fatigue life of the connection details. Fatigue life estimates were found to be very conservative, and results suggested that additional field validation work would be necessary to quantify other forces on the connection details. The project resulted in a low-cost field identification methodology to identify problem details. In addition, five retrofit strategies were examined and several recommendations were made to improve the fatigue-limit estimates. 69 p.

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