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Mid-America Transportation Center

Sensor-Assisted Condition Evaluation of Steel and Prestressed Concrete Girder Bridges Subjected to Fire - Phase III


Missouri University of Science & Technology

Principal Investigator
Genda Chen
PI Contact Information
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided
USDOT: $82,598
MS&T: $82,598
Total Project Cost
$ 165,196
Agency ID or Contract Number
Start Date
End Date
Potential Benefits
The knowledge gained on bridge behaviors and failure mechanisms in fire hazards can facilitate the design of bridges with improved fire resistances. The ability to evaluate the condition of bridges after a fire event can significantly improve the safety and reduce maintenance/repair costs associated with bridge fire accidents in highway operation.
Brief Description of Research Project
"Due to increasing demand on transporting hazardous materials, bridge fires have become an increasing concern. Once spilled on a highway, fuel can be lit up, causing a fire on overpasses or viaducts and thus traffic congestion. The resulted hydrocarbon fire can be intensified in a relatively open area of bridge site and characterized by a fast heating rate and a high peak temperature. The high temperature can be attained in the first few minutes, resulting in severe damage or even collapse of bridges in some cases and thus significant economic and public losses. The remaining capacity of the burnt bridge must be evaluated before the bridge can be reopen to traffic. The overarching goal of this multi-phase study is to develop and validate a post-fire condition evaluation method for steel- and prestressed concrete-girder bridges (overpasses or viaducts) based on material and structural data, a fire scenario (e.g., a fuel tank on highway), and environmental factors (e.g., moisture and wind). The proposed method involves fire dynamics simulation underneath a bridge, thermomechanical analysis of the structure, and structural condition assessment against material strengths. One of the key challenges to achieve this goal is to measure strains in steel members on fire and detect concrete cracks in order to validate various computational models."
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Impacts/Benefits of Implementation
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