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 f(y) similar to 400-410 MPa or high-strength steel with a yield stress of f(y) similar to 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 gauge measurements on the orthotropic steel deck structure of the Faro Bridges in Denmark. The test series carried through show a significant difference between constant amplitude and variable amplitude fatigue test results. Both the fracture mechanics analysis and the fatigue test results indicate that Miner's rule, which is normally used in the design against fatigue in steel bridges, may give results that are unconservative. The validity. of the results obtained from Miner's rule will depend on the distribution of the load history in tension and compression.
Journal of Structural Engineering, 1999, Vol 125, Issue 2, p. 152-162