Fracture Toughness Requirements for Highway Bridges: Past and Future Trends

Fracture toughness requirements were implemented for bridge steels during the early 1970s. The philosophy behind these requirements was to provide sufficient material toughness to prevent lower-shelf, brittle fracture at service temperatures and load rates experienced by bridges. These requirements do no alone prevent fracture, and designers must also consider proper fatigue design, fabrication quality control, and routine in-service inspection to insure structural safety. This fractural control plan has been effective in preventing brittle fracture in most cases, but when any aspect of the plan is not performed correctly, fracture failure still can occur in bridges. There have been significant advances in steel making practice since the 1970s, and new grades of high performance steel (HPS) are available with vastly superior toughness compared to conventional steels.


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  • Accession Number: 01000715
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 7 2005 3:00PM