1 Department of Structural Engineering and Materials, Technical University of Denmark2 Department of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark3 COWI Consultants A/S
In the present investigation, fatigue damage accumulation in steel highway bridges under random loading is studied. The fatigue life of welded joints has been determined both experimentally and from a fracture mechanics analysis.In the experimental part of the investigation, fatigue test series on welded plate test specimens have been carried through. The materials that have been used are either conventional structural steel with a yield stress of ~ 400-410 MPa or high-strength steel with a yield stress of ~ 810-840 MPa.The fatigue tests have been carried out using load histories, which correspond to one week's traffic loading, determined by means of strain gage measurements on the orthotropic steel deck structure of the Farø Bridges in Denmark.The test series which have been carried through show a significant difference between constant amplitude and variable amplitude fatigue test results. Both the fatigue test results and the fracture mechanics analysis indicate that the linear fatigue damage accumulation formula, which is normally used in the design against fatigue in steel bridges, may give results, which are unconservative. The validity of the results obtained from the linear fatigue damage accumulation formula will depend on the distribution of the load history in tension and compression.