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This paper discusses the characteristics of the discontinuities that are the origins of fatigue cracks in various welded details, and presents the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) fatigue-design curves for those details. The paper also presents a summary of the fatigue-crack-propagation data that have been obtained for bridge steels and weldments, and discusses some of the problems that need to be resolved to better predict the fatigue life of welded bridge details by using fracture-mechanics technology. It is suggested that until these problems are rectified the AASHTO fatigue-design curves present an excellent alternative to fracture-mechanics technology to ensure the structural integrity of welded details subjected to cyclic loadings.
fatigue crack growth, bridge steels and weldments, fatigue design curves
Chief, U.S. Steel Corporation, Monroeville, Pa.