Probabilistic fatigue assessment of rib-to-deck joints using thickened edge U-ribs

Junlin Heng, Kaifeng Zheng, Sakdirat Kaewunruen, Jin Zhu, Charalampos Baniotopoulos

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1 Citation (Scopus)
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Fatigue cracks of rib-to-deck (RD) joints have been frequently observed in the orthotropic steel decks (OSD) using conventional U-ribs (CU). Thickened edge U-rib (TEU) is proposed to enhance the fatigue strength of RD joints, and its effectiveness has been proved through fatigue tests. In-depth full-scale tests are further carried out to investigate both the fatigue strength and fractography of RD joints. Based on the test result, the mean fatigue strength of TEU specimens is 21% and 17% higher than that of CU specimens in terms of nominal and hot spot stress, respectively. Meanwhile, the development of fatigue cracks has been measured using the strain gauges installed along the welded joint. It is found that such the crack remains almost in semi-elliptical shape during the initiation and propagation. For the further application of TEUs, the design curve under the specific survival rate is required for the RD joints using TEUs. Since the fatigue strength of welded joints is highly scattered, the design curves derived by using the limited test data only are not reliable enough to be used as the reference. On this ground, an experiment-numerical hybrid approach is employed. Basing on the fatigue test, a probabilistic assessment model has been established to predict the fatigue strength of RD joints. In the model, the randomness in material properties, initial flaws and local geometries has been taken into consideration. The multiple-site initiation and coalescence of fatigue cracks are also considered to improve the accuracy. Validation of the model has been rigorously conducted using the test data. By extending the validated model, large-scale databases of fatigue life could be generated in a short period. Through the regression analysis on the generated database, design curves of the RD joint have been derived under the 95% survival rate. As the result, FAT 85 and FAT 110 curves with the power index m of 2.89 are recommended in the fatigue evaluation on the RD joint using TEUs in terms of nominal stress and hot spot stress respectively. Meanwhile, FAT 70 and FAT 90 curves with m of 2.92 are suggested in the evaluation on the RD joint using CUs in terms of nominal stress and hot spot stress, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-813
Number of pages15
JournalSteel & Composite Structures: an international journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2020


  • orthotropic steel deck
  • probabilistic fatigue assessment
  • rib-to-deck joint
  • thickened edge U-rib


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