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1. Introduction

This paper presents a study of prestressed concrete bridges when subjected to actions that

could cause failure by fatigue. The study is focused on rail bridges of medium span box-girder

cross section. The study is centered in:

Bridges, in matter of actions and combination of actions and verify if they are suitable. In

particular, it was studied the criteria to quantify the prestressed strength that allow the indirect

Fatigue Assessment.

the structural design from the study of real railway bridges.

It was made an introduction and description about the Fatigue phenomena and its main

characteristics. It was presented the principal characteristics of Fatigue Resistance definition.

The structural materials properties were introduced, in particular the ones about Fatigue.

The Fatigue Assessment Procedures established in Eurocodes are the Palmgren-Miner Rule

and the Damage Equivalent Stress Range.

The case studies were made about box sections in medium span bridges.

The case studies results allowed to conclude that the Eurocode criteria to design the

prestressed cables is conservative in railway bridges and could be in fact downsized under

some conditions. On most cases, the structural elements have sufficient Fatigue life.

2. Fatigue

A structure designed to resist a static load may collapse due to cyclic loading. It can happens

even if the aplied stress are below the resistance stress. This phenomenon is called Fatigue

and causes most damages in the structures. ([16] ,[13] ).

The fatigue phenomenon is the appearance of cracks at places where occur large stress

concentration due to repeated loads. These stress concentrations begin an internal material

defect and in time the crack may tend to expand.

1

The first phenomena of fatigue were detected and documented in the nineteenth century by

Albert in iron items.

The development of roadways with concrete pavements at the 1920 decade increased the

interest on fatigue.

The current international regulations about Fatigue are based on the Model Code 90.

Fatigue Resistance

The fatigue resistance is defined as the number of loading cyclic repetitions that a particular

element can resist without reaching failure.

tests. The fatigue tests are expensive and time consuming due to the various factors that cause

influence in the resistance.

The following figure shows the fatigue curve in the bi-logarithmic scale provided in EN1992-

1-1 for reinforcement.

2

Most of the knowledge about fatigue behavior is based on experimental tests using cyclic

loading with constant amplitude. The actual loads are more complex. To assess the fatigue life

of a component subject to a more complex loading is used the Palmgren-Miner Law.

The Palmgren-Mine Damages Lawr allows to determine the level of damage that a stress

history causes to a structural element. For the structural design is assumed that the maximum

permissible damage is less than 1. The Miner's rule is given in the following expression:

∑

1 (1)

Where:

Ni is the number of loading cycles that cause the Fatigue failure for that stress range.

Fatigue strength is influenced by several factors such as: the stress range (∆σ); the initial

crack size; the geometry of the constructive detail; the material characteristics and environment

actions.

3. Concrete

Description

The use of concrete as a structural material goes back several thousand years. It was mainly

used in floors, walls and foundations. The Roman civilization began pouring the concrete in the

construction of houses, temples, bridges and aqueducts. The massive use of concrete in

buildings dating back to the early nineteenth century with a more further study of cement

properties, namely Portland cement. Nowadays concrete became one of the most used

materials in construction.

cement, water, air, and some others.

Fatigue Resistance

The first research about the Fatigue properties of concrete dates back to the late nineteenth

century ([18] ).

Research on concrete Fatigue was intensified during the 1970s due to the construction of

offshore structures on Scandinavia. Such structures are subject to important cyclical loads due

to the action of the sea. In the last decade, the interest in concrete Fatigue has increased due to

the construction of railway slim bridges and subject to greater traffic speeds and heavier loads.

([17] ).

3

Figure 3- Goodman-Johnson diagram. (from [15] )

From the diagram it can be seen that as the minimum stress decreases, the stress amplitude

which causes failure by fatigue, decreases. Furthermore it is observed a sharp decrease in

resistance when the minimum voltage becomes a tensile stress.

4. Steel

Description

Steel is a structural material consisting mainly of iron. It has a lesser percentage of Carbon,

Nickel, Chromium, Manganese, among others.

Steel cables are used in construction since the beginning of time, with the main purpose of

helping man to elevate very high loads, such as stone blocks for example.

Fatigue Resistance

The fatigue resistance of steel is defined as the stress range that the material supports when

subjected to a given number of loading cycles.

Failure can occur even if the maximum applied stress is less than the stress resistant of the

material.

Fatigue Failure of reinforcement begins with the formation of a small crack in the surface, so

the initiation phase is reduced. This crack will propagate, as the number of cycles increases,

until the remaining area can no longer resists to the applied loads. The reinforcement shape is

of great importance for the smooth transition between the rib and steel.

The contact between the cable and the metal sheath may cause premature rupture,

particularly if the oxygen reaches the location rubbed by a process called "Fretting Fatigue".

In this paper it the fatigue assessment method purposed by the Eurocodes is applied. First a

preliminary analysis is performed in order to identify which details must be considered in the

4

fatigue analysis. For the fatigue verification two methods are used: the Damage Accumulation

Method and the Damage Equivalent Stress Method. Both are based on the S-N fatigue strength

curves.

The fatigue actions depend on the type of bridge under consideration.

In railway bridges two load models are specified, the LM71 and a set of 12 service trains.

The LM71 should be used in the Preliminary Analysis and in Damage Equivalent Stress

Method. The 12 trains models are suitable for the application with Damage Accumulation

Method.

For the complete definition of the fatigue verifications, it is necessary to define the traffic

composition for railway bridges.

The Eurocode provides that actions (λFf) and material resistance (γMf) should be affected by

partial safety factors.

Stress Range

The stress range is the algebraic difference between the maximum and the minimum stress.

In prestressed concrete bridges the stress calculation should take into account the concrete

cracking.

Assessment Methods

As mentioned the Damage Equivalent Stress Method and Damage Accumulation Method

are used.

These two methods are complemented with the use of a preliminary analysis for Fatigue.

The purpose of this analysis is to identify which details have unlimited Fatigue life. A stress

range limit is defined and the maximum stress range in the section is compared with this limit. If

the observed stress range is bellow the stress range limit the damage is so low that the Fatigue

effect in these detail can be neglected.

The purpose of Damage Equivalent Stress Method is the evaluation of the Fatigue safety

considering an equivalent Fatigue stress with constant amplitude and comparing it to the detail

category (Fatigue strength at 2 million cycles).

It is assumed that the structure is crossed by a vehicle or train (fictitious) alone that cause

the Fatigue damage by itself. The obtained stresses are then multiplied by a factor called

damage equivalent factor, which takes into account several factors affecting the Fatigue

resistance. This factor is obtained as the product of different parameters:

5

· · · · < λmax (2)

Parameter λ0 is only applied to concrete in railway bridges. For all other situations it is

assumed that λ0 is equal to 1. The coefficient λ1 takes into account the traffic effect on the

structure and depends on the influence line length. Parameter λ2 takes into account the traffic

volume that cross the bridge during its lifetime. Regarding to parameter λ3, this parameter takes

into account the bridge lifetime. Finally, parameter λ4 is used to take into consideration the traffic

simultaneously on more than one lane or track. A value of λmax is defined.

railway bridges it might be taken as equal to φ2, which can be obtained from EN1991-2.

In short, the stress range calculation is given by the following expressions for all elements,

except the concrete:

The safety check should be made in accordance with the following criteria:

· Δ (5)

!"

#

· Δ (6)

!",%

Clause NN.3.2 of EN1992-2 presents a method for concrete fatigue assessment in railway

bridges. It is based on the relationship between maximum and minimum compressive stresses.

Damage Accumulation method is more general than Damage Equivalent Stress Method

because it is not based on the definition of an equivalent stress range, but on the direct

application of Miner´s expression (1).

The damage calculation can be done by two ways. The first one, without considering the

constant amplitude fatigue limit (∆σD), is based on the lower slope (m) of fatigue curves. If

security is not guaranteed both sides of the fatigues curves, below and above constant

amplitude fatigue limit, must be taken into account.

6

- Determine the stress history, which represents the evolution of stress in a given section as

a function of the position of the load on the bridge;

- Determine the stress range above the cut-off limit (∆σL/γMf) using, for instance, the reservoir

method;

- Define the stress range spectrum and calculate the number of cycles based on the

category/traffic composition;

6. Examples

The two different methods for fatigue assessment presented in the previous chapter were

applied. The structural model considered for the railway bridge consists in a seven span deck,

composed by a two girders section.

The length L is defined as having from 30 to 45 meters. Four different spans were

considered 30m, 35m, 40m and 45m.

In figures 5 and 6 the cross-sections used in two of the examples are presented.

The actions considered were the following and their quantification was made according to

the Eurocodes:

- Permanent load;

7

- Temperature gradient;

The deck was designed in order to meet only the requirements of Ultimate Limit States in

bending. Subsequently it was made the Fatigue assessment and then analyzed the situations

where security check was not respected. In that case a new deck structure design should be

made.

Results

In figures 6 and 7 the results obtained for the Damage Equivalent Stress Method by

comparison of the resistant and applied stress range are presented for different cases. The

stress ranges are presented in terms of absolute value.

Método da Tensão Equivalente de Danos

1.2

1.0

ψ=0.8/0.7

0.8

ψ=0.6

0.6 ψ=0.4

ψ=0.2

0.4 ψ=0.0

Limite

0.2

0.0

30 35 40 45

L

Figure 6- Fatigue resistence of concrete at the support in the upper section fiber.

It is confirmed that small gaps may occur to breakage by fatigue in the concrete upper fiber

at the support. Also in this situation it would be necessary to redesign the cross section.

Método da Tensão Equivalente de Danos

160.0

140.0

120.0 ψ=0.8/0.7

100.0 ψ=0.6

80.0 ψ=0.4

ψ=0.2

60.0

ψ=0.0

40.0 Limite

20.0

0.0

30 35 40 45

L

Figure 7- Fatigue resistence of concrete at the support in the upper section fiber.

8

From the analysis of the previous figure it is possible to say that only values of Ψ1 equal to 0

and for span lenghts lesser than 35 meters, the reinforcement can failure.

7. Conclusions

Based on the results obtained it can be confirmed that bridge design can be conditioned by

fatigue resistance. In some cases it is possible to reduce the live loading coeficient to design the

prestressed cables.

8. References

[1] CEB – “Fatigue of Concrete Structures: State of the Art Report.”, Bulletin D´Information

Nº188, Comite Euro-International du Beton, 1988.

[2] CEB-FIP – “Model Code 90”, Comite Euro-International du Beton, Thomas Telford, 1993.

1999.

[4] Chen, Y., Jing, N., Zheng, P., Azzam, R., Zhou, Y., Shao, W. – “Experimental research on

the behavior of high frequency fatigue in concrete”, Engineering Failure Analysis, 2011.

[7] EN 1992-1-1 – “Eurocode 2: Design of concrete structures - Part 1-1: General rules and

rules for buildings”

[8] Leitão, F. N., Silva, J., Vellasco, P., Andrade, S., Lima, L. – “Composite (steel-concrete)

highway bridge fatigue assessment”, Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 2010.

Reinforced Concrete Bridge Deck”, Advances in Structural Engineering, 2010.

9

[11] Nieto, A. J., Chicharro, J., Pintado, P. – “An approximated methodology for fatigue tests

and fatigue monitoring of concrete specimens”, International Journal of Fatigue, 2005.

[12] Núñez, P., Fresno, D. – “Los Cables de Acero y Sus Aplicaciones”, Universidade de

Cantábria, 2008.

[13] Olsson, K., Pettersson, J. – “Fatigue Assessment Methods for Reinforced Concrete

Bridges in Eurocode”, Master of Science Thesis, Chalmers University of Technology,

Suécia, 2010.

[14] Petryna, Y. S., Pfanner, D., Stangenberg, F., Krätzig, W. B. – “Reliability of reinforced

concrete structures under fatigue”, Reliability Engineering & System Safety, 2002.

inadmissible Loads from the Fatigue Point of View”, Scientia Iranica, 2007.

[16] “Structural Concrete – Volume 2, Basics of Design”, FIB, 1999.

Structures”, Doctoral Thesis, Lulea University of Technology, Suécia, 2006.

[18] Wang, H. L., Song, Y. P. – “Fatigue capacity of plain concrete under fatigue loading with

constant confined stress”, Materials and Structures, 2009.

[19] Wikipédia

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