Finite Element Analysis for Fatigue Damage Reduction in Metallic Riveted Bridges Using Pre-Stressed CFRP Plates
Many old riveted steel bridges remain operational and require retrofit to accommodate ever increasing demands. Complicating retrofit efforts, riveted steel bridges are often considered historical structures where structural modifications that affect the original construction are to be avoided. The presence of rivets along with preservation requirements often prevent the use of traditional retrofit methods, such as bonding of fiber reinforced composites, or the addition of supplementary steel elements. In this paper, an un-bonded post-tensioning retrofit method is numerically investigated using an existing railway riveted bridge geometry in Switzerland. The finite element (FE) model consists of a global dynamic model for the whole bridge and a more refined sub-model for a riveted joint. The FE model results include dynamic effects from axle loads and are compared with field measurements. Pre-stressed un-bonded carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) plates will be considered for the strengthening elements. Fatigue critical regions of the bridge are identified, and the effects of the un-bonded post-tensioning method with different prestress levels on fatigue susceptibility are explored. With an applied 40% CFRP pre-stress, fatigue damage reductions of more than 87% and 85% are achieved at the longitudinal-to-cross beam connections and cross-beam bottom flanges respectively.