Fracture Behavior Characterization of Conventional and High Performance Steel for Bridge Applications

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Virginia Tech

The work described herein examines the fracture behavior of steels used in bridge applications. As part of Transportation Pooled Fund (TPF) Project 5-238, Design and Fabrication Standards to Eliminate Fracture Critical Concerns in Steel Members Traditionally Classified as Fracture Critical, researchers aim to take advantage of advances made in both steel production technology and in the field of fracture mechanics.

Testing and analysis of both conventional and High Performance Steel (HPS) grades of bridge steel was conducted as part of this study. This includes both Charpy V-Notch testing, as well as more rigorous elastic-plastic fracture toughness testing. Analysis includes the application of the master curve methodology to statistically characterize fracture behavior in the ductile to brittle transition region. In addition, a database of historic bridge fracture toughness data was compiled and re-analyzed using plasticity corrections to estimate elastic-plastic fracture toughness. Correlations between Charpy V-Notch impact energy and fracture toughness, which forms the basis for the current material specification, were also examined. Application of fracture toughness characterization of both new and historic data results in updated methodologies for addressing fracture in bridge design.

Brittle failures, material failures, cracking, toughness, steel, bridges, fracture