About the Project
Steel trusses have widely been used over the last 150 years for railway and highway bridges. Construction of such bridges is quite complex, particularly in the region of welded joints (connections) where secondary reinforcing steel plates are often welded onto the main steel beam sections to alleviate the high stress concentrations and prolong fatigue life. This complex manufacturing does not only result in an increased construction cost, but also to a non-ductile behaviour of joints, often leading to structural failure and collapse. The poor behaviour of steel bridges to extreme loads is further exacerbated by the increased frequency and severity of environmental actions, the increased corrosion rate, and the increased traffic loads.
The present project will investigate the fatigue behaviour of welded gusset-plate joints used in old steel truss bridges. Using digitalized inspection technologies and available data provided by an industrial partner, an actual bridge will be simulated through refined finite element modelling. The performance of gusset-plate connections to fatigue loads will be assessed until ultimate failure and suitable models will be developed. Damage simulations will involve both physical experimentation and computational methods incorporating advanced fracture models. Outcomes will support the development of an assessment method that can enable a rational decision-making framework for the remaining fatigue life of the bridge.
Prospective students should hold at least a 2:1 Bachelors degree (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities) or a Masters degree (preference for Merit or above) in a relevant technical subject. The project is well suited to motivated and hard-working candidates with a keen interest in Structural Engineering and Steel Structures. A basic knowledge of finite element analysis methods (e.g., ABAQUS, ANSYS) and programming languages (e.g., MATLAB or Python) is essential. Basic understanding/experience of laboratory procedures and experiments are desirable
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