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The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Evaluation of Fatigue-Prone Details Using a Low-Cost Thermoelastic Stress Analysis System
Steven B. Chase, Ph.D., Yaw Adu-Gyamfi, Ph.D.
Year: 2016
VTRC No.: 17-R8
Abstract: This study was designed to develop a novel approach for in situ evaluation of stress fields in the vicinity of fatigue-prone details on highway bridges using a low-cost microbolometer thermal imager.

The method was adapted into a field-deployable instrument to obtain in situ visualization of the stress concentrations present at fatigue-prone details on highway bridges subject to random truck loading. The infrared thermoelastic stress analysis (IR-TSA) system developed in this study is available for use by Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) district structure and bridge personnel to evaluate fatigue-prone details on existing bridges.

VDOT plans to implement the technology to validate repairs underway at the I-64 Delta Frame Bridge in Lexington and fatigue crack arrest repairs on other steel bridges in VDOT’s inventory. Guidance will be developed on the application and practical use of the technology for incorporation into VDOT’s Manual of the Structure and Bridge Division.