A Numerical Based Determination of Stress Intensity Factors for Partially Cracked Flexural I-shaped Cross-sections

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Virginia Tech

The AASHTO LRFD design specifications and the AASHTO manual for bridge evaluation are consistently revised using knowledge of previous bridge failures. Although modern steel structures are designed to resist fatigue cracking from service loads, cracks in the tension flanges of steel bridge girders have been observed as a result of stress concentrations, design errors, welding quality control, and vehicular impacts. Cracks can grow in size with time and active cyclic live loads and may result in a member fracture. Fracture is a dangerous limit state which occurs with little to no warning. One method to quantify the stress field in the vicinity of a crack tip is by calculating the Stress Intensity Factor (SIF) around the crack tip. Finding SIFs for a cracked geometry may help an engineer to determine the fracture potential based on crack dimensions found during the inspection. Rolled I-beam and steel plate girders are extensively used as bridge superstructure members to efficiently carry live loads. This research was focused on determining Stress Intensity Factors (SIFs) of partially cracked I-sections using Finite Element Analysis. Two different tension flange crack profiles were studied: edge cracks, and full-width cracks. The SIF solutions were further used to study the fracture behavior and stress redistribution in the partially cracked flexural I-shaped members.

Stress Intensity Factor, Geometry Factor, Edge Crack, Full-width Crack, Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics, Fracture, Flexural I-shaped Cross-sections