Fatigue Study of a GRP Pedestrian Bridge: Final Report

Report No: 87-R7

Published in 1986

About the report:

Static and cyclic load tests were conducted on a 16-ft long bridge constructed with fiberglass materials. Approximately 1.6 million cycles of loads were applied to the deck to study the fatigue characteristics of the bridge. The location and magnitude of the loads were selected to accelerate failure of elements and joints in the structure. Upon completion of the cyclic load program, an ultimate static load of 16,640 lb was reached before the bridge failed. Experimental strains, deflections, and acoustic emissions were monitored during the load tests. Test results indicated that cracks in the bonded joints formed and extended under cyclic loading. The strength of the bridge was not impaired with the development of the cracks, but deflections increased progressively with the growth of the cracks. Viscoelastic creep occurred to a minor extent during sustained loading. A theoretical analysis of the behavior of the bridge was conducted by means of a finite element model. The agreement between the experimental and theoretical investigations were satisfactory. Recommendations are offered to improve the performance of the structure.

Disclaimer Statement: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.


  • Fred C. McCormick

Last updated: December 30, 2023

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