Fatigue life assessment of large scale T-jointed steel truss bridge components

Shunyao Cai, Weizhen Chen, Mehdi Kashani, Paul Vardanega*, Colin Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
1052 Downloads (Pure)


Among current approaches for fatigue strength assessment, the effective notch stress method is widely employed by practising engineers designing welded joints. This is particularly important in the situation where the nominal stress and structural stress cannot be easily quantified. In this paper, the applicability of the so called effective notch stress approach on large-size T-joints in truss bridges is investigated through a comprehensive experimental programme supported by numerical analysis. A series of large-scale fatigue tests on prototype large-size T joints with cope holes were conducted. These types of joints are normally used in fully welded truss bridges. Furthermore, a simple parametric study was conducted using finite element analysis to investigate the effect of plate thickness and cope-hole radius on effective notch stress. Comparison of the results with commonly used design guidance documents reveals that the effective notch stress approach provides a conservative estimate of the fatigue strength of the specimens tested in this experimental programme.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-509
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Constructional Steel Research
Early online date14 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • Steel bridges
  • Welded joints
  • Fatigue
  • Cope holes
  • Notch Stress


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