A Potential Framework for Exploiting the Benefits of High-Toughness Steel

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

World Steel Bridge Symposium

First page number:



Steel bridge systems historically classified as non-redundant have been used in the United States since the late 1800’s because of their inherent structural efficiency and economy. Unfortunately, the stringent inservice 24-month hands-on inspection mandate has effectively discouraged the use of systems traditionally considered to be non-redundant. In the 40 years following the introduction of the original steel bridge fracture requirements, significant advances have been made in design, materials, fabrication, and inspection. However, no provisions currently leverage the advantage of advanced materials, specifically modern, hightoughness steel. Current understanding of fracture mechanics allows for the calculation of critical flaw sizes and fatigue crack-growth life, thereby allowing engineers to set rational in-service inspection intervals. Studies examining high-toughness materials have worked towards the development of an integrated approach to prevent steel bridge fracture. The following paper discusses the parameters and assumptions involved in establishing a rational inspection interval. Additionally, a parametric analysis is conducted to demonstrate the impact various assumptions and parameters have on the final interval. Ultimately, results demonstrate a potential framework for exploiting the benefits of high-toughness steel resulting in rational inspection intervals.