Of all the limit states that affect the performance of steel bridges, fatigue and fracture are often misunderstood when it comes to design, inspection, and repair/retrofit. Although there is a wealth of research and case studies of failures related to cracking in the literature, few civil engineering programs offer any courses that spend more than a lecture or two on these topics. There are even fewer courses or credible reference manuals available on the repair and retrofit of steel bridges that are in service. Hence, owners often are left to develop their own strategies when it comes to repair or retrofit. Unfortunately, in some cases, the repair or retrofit selected has been observed to make the condition worse due to a lack of understanding of the problem, lack of available reference materials, and/or lack of experienced personnel.

The intent of this document is to provide engineers and inspectors with technical guidance regarding evaluation, repair, and retrofit procedures for both common as well as nonstandard, noncompliant, or failed details commonly encountered on steel bridge structures.


Supplemental videos for this report:

Snyder, L., Whitehead, J., Connor, R. (2015). Active Out-of-Plane Distortion Cracking at a Girder Web Gap. Purdue University Research Repository.

Washeleski, T., Connor, R. (2015). Brittle Fracture and Propagation of Crack in a Box Girder. Purdue University Research Repository.

Korkmas, C., Hebdon, M., Connor, R. (2015). Brittle Fracture in Cover Plate of Riveted Built-up Bridge Girder Illustrating Member Redundancy. Purdue University Research Repository.

Sherman, R., Hebdon, M. (2015). Charpy Impact Test of Very High Toughness Steel That Stopped the Hammer. Purdue University Research Repository.

Snyder, L., Whitehead, J., Connor, R. (2015). Out-of-Plane Distortion Crack Growth at a Girder Web Gap (Time-Lapse). Purdue University Research Repository.

Sherman, R., Connor, R. (2015). Rivet Removal in a Built-up Girder Using an Air Chisel. Purdue University Research Repository.

Lloyd, J., Washeleski, T. (2015). Typical Charpy Impact Test. Purdue University Research Repository.


fatigue cracking, fatigue crack growth, out-of-plane distortion cracking, steel bridge retrofit, girder fracture, brittle fracture, Charpy impact testing, member-level redundancy

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