Report No.: CCEER-99-10-A

Title: Fatigue Behavior of Riveted Open Deck Railroad Bridge Girders

Authors: Philip C. He, Ahmad Itani, and E. "Manos" Maragakis

Date: August, 1999

Sponsoring Agency: Transportation Technology Center

Performing Organization:
Department of Civil Engineering/258
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557


This report summarizes studies conducted on railway open deck plate girders to understand their fatigue behavior under repeated train loading. A two-part program, experimental and analytical was carried out to determine the fatigue behavior of an open deck plate girder. Full-scale specimen that represented an existing railway bridge with a reduced span length was subjected to 5.5 million cycles of dynamic loading. The top flange and the web experienced out of plane deformation due to the eccentric location of the applied load from the centerline of the plate girder. This out of plane deformation caused tensile stresses in a region that is supposed to be under compressive stresses. After 128 days of dynamic testing and 5.5 million cycles the plate girder did not experience any visible fracture. However, several ties cracked and number of rivets lost their initial pretension and became loose due to the repeated dynamic loading.

Three dimensional finite element analysis using ADINA program were conducted on a mathematical model that represents the test specimen showed similar behavior of the experimental testing. The stresses obtained from the analyses were comparable to the test results. This indicates that 3-D finite element analysis is capable of predicting the behavior of DPG. (by authors)