Methods for Evaluation of the Remaining Strength in Steel Bridge Beams with Section Losses due to Corrosion Damage

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Virginia Tech


This research is intended to better understand the structural behavior of steel bridge beams that have experienced section loss near the bearings. This type of deterioration is common in rural bridges with leaking expansion joints, which exposes the superstructure to corrosive road deicing solutions. Seventeen beams from 4 decommissioned structures throughout Virginia were tested to induce web shear failure near the bearing locations and measured for load, vertical displacement, and web strain behavior. The strain was measured using a digital image correlation (DIC) system to create a digital strain field at equal loading and beam displacement intervals during testing. The data recorded during these large-scale tests was compared to several existing methods for calculating the shear capacity of the damaged beams. Finally, the most appropriate method of these approaches was identified based on accuracy, conservatism, and ease of implementation for load rating. When using load rating methods to determine a steel beam's capacity, this study also recommends that the effective area of the web used in determining the percentage of remaining thickness should consist of the bottom 3 inches of the web and should extend the length of the bearing plus one beam height excluding any areas without any noticeable section losses.



Corrosion, Steel Beam, Load Rating, Inspection, Bridges