Load Models for Fatigue Design of Highway Bridges

CE671 – Lecture 28

Design vs. Evaluation
We will consider:
– Loads for fatigue design – Response of bridge elements
How many cycles per passage

Must Distinguish between Loads for Fatigue vs. Other Limit-states LimitLimit State:
“Condition beyond which the bridge or component ceases to satisfy the provisions for which it was designed” designed”


Common Limit-states
Service limit-state limit– Relates to stress, deformation, cracking, relies somewhat on experience

Strength limit-state limit– Relates strength & stability – Extensive distress & structural damage – Structural integrity is maintained

Common Limit-states
Extreme event
– Unique occurrence
collision, flood, earthquake

– Ensure survival of structure

Fatigue and fracture limit-state limit– Limit cracking under repeated loads – Prevent fracture

Clearly, structures are subjected to many different types of loads for each limitlimitstate

This limit-state vs. …….


This limit-state !

But it’s still standing!!

Fatigue Limit-state
Considers stresses induced by repeated loads…millions of cycles loads… Maximum loading conditions not appropriate
– e.g., permit loads in all lanes

However, fatigue damage is the result of the entire variable load spectrum


Design Loads for any Limit-state
Desirable to use a minimum number of different trucks However, design vehicles should produce reasonably similar effects as real trucks

Loads for Fatigue Limit-state
Desirable to use one type of vehicle
– This results in constant amplitude fatigue – Easiest to work with

Vehicle must produce the same equivalent fatigue damage as entire variable live load spectrum

Development of “Fatigue Truck”
Developed based on:
– WIM studies – FHWA loadometer data – Field testing of in-service bridges in-

Led to truck proposed in NCHRP Report 299
– Developed for longitudinal and transverse members of girder bridges


Comparison of Gross Vehicle Weight Distribution from 1970 FHWA Nationwide Loadometer Survey with Bridge Weigh-in-Motion Survey Weigh- in-

Fatigue Truck
Truck which produces equivalent fatigue damage as variable amplitude spectrum
– Does not included panel, pick-up, & other pick2-axle 4-wheel vehicles 4GVW > 20 kips

– These contribute little to fatigue damage

AASHTO LRFD “Fatigue Truck” Truck”
(Equivalent to HS15 w/ fixed trailer length)


How should the Fatigue Truck be applied?
Depends on bridge and element Most short to medium span bridges damage caused by individual trucks
– One primary cycle produced per truck

Use only a single truck for fatigue Multiple presence can be considered if necessary

Primary Member
(594 ft. span)

Stress (ksi)

0.9 ksi

Time (sec)

Bottom chord of continuous deck truss

Primary Member
(594 ft. span)

Stress (ksi)

1.1 ksi

Time (sec)

Diagonal of continuous deck truss


Primary Member
(end span of 4 span unit 125 ft. span)

Stress (ksi)

1.1 ksi

Time (sec)

Bottom flange of plate girder

Transverse Member Floorbeam

Arch Bridges
arch rib (C)

tie girder (T)


Tie Girder Response

Tie Girder Response

Influence of Multiple Presence
Multiple presence – more than one truck on the bridge What is the effect on damage? Influence is typically small in terms of cumulative fatigue damage


Influence of Multiple Presence
Example – two trucks side-by-side side- by– Assume ADTT of 10% – Assume trucks side-by-side 10% of ADTT side- by– Assume static stress increases by 80% due to adjacent truck

Influence of Multiple Trucks
What is effect on damage?
– Use Miner’s Rule to calculate equivalent Miner’ damage – Sreff = [(0.1)(1.8Sr)3 + 0.9(Sr)3]1/3 = 1.14Sr
Two Trucks One Truck

– Sreff increased by less than 15% due to presence of second truck

Special Considerations for Deck Elements
Fatigue truck developed to produce cumulative damage in main members Axles of fatigue truck actually represent a tandem for simplicity This simplification is not appropriate for deck elements
– Orthotropic decks – Modular bridge expansion joints


Five Axle Truck Idealized as Three Axle Truck
2P R 2P R







Response of Deck Elements
(Steel Orthotropic Closed Rib Deck)


Deck Plate Critical Detail



“HS” Series Truck
(Short Trailer)
CH27 Diaph.


CH89 on Deck


“HS” Series truck
(Long Trailer)

CH27 Diaph. MPa

CH89 on Deck


Summary of Fatigue Design

Summary of Fatigue Design
Fatigue design
– Usually concerned with 75-100 yr. life 75– Desire very low probability of cracking
Use lowerbound curves

– May wish include traffic growth
Increases in ADTT Increases in GVW

– Load spectrum is conservatively assumed


Questions ?


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