The fatigue problems in orthotropic steel decks have raised widely concerns in recent years. This study focused on the root crack mechanism at rib-to-deck welded joints, based on the previous test results of sectional specimens and the matching FE analysis, the fatigue behaviors of structure detail were investigated by considering the effect of root gap shapes, weld penetrations, and plate thicknesses on crack initiation. Besides, various root crack depths were simulated in models to clarify the stress variations occurring during the propagation stage under cyclic loading. The results showed that the root gap shape and penetration rate have an impact on the root cracking direction and fatigue life at the initiation stage, but seem not directly related to the crack propagation mechanism; the higher penetration rate is advantageous for the prevention of root crack initiation. However, although the stiffness increased with the increase in plate thickness, the fatigue life of crack initiation might be reduced owing to the low fatigue strength of the thick deck plate, whereas the U-rib thickness has limited effect on the stress response of the root tip. Moreover, the significant difference between the 8 mm-crack model and other crack models is the high stress concentration around the crack tip. The stress conditions of root tip would be changed under loading cycles when a root crack propagated into half of deck plate thickness. Finally, the effect of structural dimensions on fatigue strength were also compared according to test results and FEA.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes