Effects of residual stresses on fatigue crack propagation of an orthotropic steel bridge deck

Niels van den Berg, Haohui Xin*, Milan Veljkovic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


Orthotropic steel decks (OSD's) are susceptible to fatigue failure due to cyclic loading. Often fatigue cracks are found in the joint between the deck plate and the trough. Due to the welding process, residual stresses are present in and around the joint. In this paper, the effect of residual stresses on the fatigue crack propagation rate has been evaluated. First, a FE model has been made to predict and validate the residual stress field of the OSD due to welding. The validation of residual stresses is made comparing measured data at the surface of the OSD and over the thickness of the deck flange. The residual stresses are used to subsequently model for a crack propagation analysis based on extended finite element method (XFEM). The fatigue crack simulation including residual stress field shows good correlation compared to the experimental data, while the simulation without residual stress field shows less correlation. The effects of the residual stresses are relatively large as the tensile transversal residual stresses increase the crack propagation, while the tensile longitudinal residual stresses decrease the crack propagation rate. The optimal modelling of the component of residual stresses is investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109294
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalMaterials and Design
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Extended finite element method(XFEM)
  • Fatigue crack propagation
  • Orthotropic steel decks
  • Residual stresses


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