Journal article

Assessment of existing steel structures. A guideline for estimation of the remaining fatigue life

In many countries and regions, traffic infrastructure projects suffer from low funding. The budget is tight for new infrastructure building and, thus, the importance of inspection, maintenance and assessment of the existing traffic infrastructure increases. A new fatigue assessment guideline for the estimation of the remaining fatigue life of steel bridges has been written by technical committee 6 from ECCS. It will be a useful tool for the complementation of bridge management systems, used commonly for condition assessment. Design specifications and rules are harmonised throughout Europe. They are under constant development, but there is still a lack of forwarding and concentrating experiences as well as developing rules for the fatigue assessment on existing steel structures. This paper presents a guideline with a proposed fatigue assessment procedure for existing steel structures embedded in information about old materials and nondestructive testing methods for the evaluation of details (ECCS 2004, Assessment of existing steel structures). Particular attention is paid on remedial measures which are proposed for weak details and damages caused by fatigue. The developed fatigue assessment procedure can be applied to existing steel structures under cyclic loading in general, but the guideline concentrates on the existing traffic infrastructure made from old steel, because of the public importance. The proposed procedure summarizes, regroups and arranges the knowledge in the field of assessment on existing steel to be applied by practicing engineers. The procedure is a milestone in knowledge transfer from a state of scientific knowledge to state-of-the-art.

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