NDE of Steel Bridges by Acoustic Emission

by Al Ghorbanpoor, Univ of Wisc.-Milw., Milwaukee, United States,
Alan T. Rentmeester, Univ of Wisc.-Milw., Milwaukee, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Structural Engineering in Natural Hazards Mitigation


Acoustic emission technique (AE) was used to investigate fatigue cracking phenomenon during a series of laboratory tests of various bridge steels and during field testing of an in-service highway steel bridge. It was found that AE signals from growing fatigue cracks contain distinct characteristic features which could be used to perform testing in noisy environment such as in the case of steel bridge structures. It was possible to effectively discriminate against undesired noise related signals during the field testing by taking into consideration the known AE features, state of stress, and the location of the source. Experimental results indicated that the AE features did not significantly vary during the fatigue testing at different stress range levels. Good correlation was established between the AE activities observed during the field testing and the crack growth which had been evaluated over the previous five years. It is shown that AE may be used as an effective tool to determine fatigue crack activities at structural details in steel bridges.

Subject Headings: Steel bridges | Bridge tests | Highway bridges | Fatigue tests | Acoustics | Emissions | Field tests | Cracking

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