MnDOT Fracture Critical System Analysis for Steel Bridges

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  06/29/2016


MnDOT has identified the need to develop a methodology to quantify when a steel bridge system is considered fracture critical based on Federal Highway Administration recommendations. The overall goal of this project was to research existing applicable fracture critical research papers and publications, develop a methodology for determining whether a bridge is fracture critical or not based on this research, then apply this methodology to six different fracture critical steel pier caps as a refined analysis. This refined analysis used advanced computer modeling software to develop a 3-D model of the bridge, and then simulated localized failure modes at the fracture critical steel pier caps. These simulated failures were used to determine the adequacy of load path redundancy to the remaining portion of the bridge and whether a catastrophic failure of the entire bridge would occur.

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