Estimating Residual Fatigue Life of Bridges

G. Jeff Post, Karl H. Frank, and Bahram (Alec) Tahmassebi


This manual describes the capabilities and operating procedures for an automated bridge testing system. The system was developed for the Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation to provide a portable, self-contained, and user-friendly means for evaluating the residual fatigue life on steel girder bridges. The bridge testing system has been designed so that it can be easily installed on a bridge in less than a day and can record data automatically for up to two weeks. The system has been enclosed to protect the electronic components from the environment and the entire system can be clamped onto a bridge girder.

The main components of the system are a Campbell Scientific eight channel datalogger and a Data General portable computer. The Data General computer is used to program the Campbell to record strains measured using conventional strain gages or special clamp-on strain transducers. The system is very flexible with respect to the types of data that can be collected, and programs have also been written to analyze the data.

This user's manual has been written to provide the information required to conduct a bridge test.

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