More sustainable bridges in the future?

(27-08-2021) Steel bridges are susceptible to fatigue damage in places where the components of the bridge deck are attached to each other. In his PhD, Heng Fang investigates how fatigue resistance can be improved in the future.

For long span bridges, the orthotropic steel bridge deck is often used. A typical orthotropic steel deck consists of several components such as: the steel deck plate, the crossbeams and the ribs. These components are connected together by numerous welds. These welds easily cause stress concentrations that may lead to fatigue damage under repetitive loading.

Most reported research focuses on the connection between the ribs and the deck plate. However, fatigue cracks at the connection between the ribs and the crossbeams occur more frequently. Until now, insufficient attention has been paid to the fatigue cracks induced by the rib distortion. This is also proven by the fact that the corresponding fatigue detail category is not yet included in the current Eurocode.

"Therefore, with my doctoral research I try to get a better understanding of the distortional behaviour of the ribs and to improve the fatigue resistance of steel bridges accordingly," concludes Heng Fang.


Read the full PhD : Distortion-Induced Fatigue of Rib-to-Crossbeam Joint in Orthotropic Steel Decks


Read the entire PhD

-, (promotor)

Heng Fang


Editor: Jeroen Ongenae - Final editing: Ilse Vercruysse - Illustrator: Roger Van Hecke