Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Experimental research on the behavior and strength of large-scale steel gusset plates with sway-buckling response including effects of corrosion and retrofit options Public Deposited

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  • The collapse of the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis, MN on August 1, 2007 brought into question the design and inspection of gusset plates in steel truss bridges. The experimental tests performed in this research study the sway-buckling strength and behavior of large-scale steel gusset plates in an isolated truss connection. Parameters studied include plate thickness,combination member loading, initial out-of-plane imperfection, diagonal compression member out-of-plane flexural stiffness, corrosion, and alternative retrofits to increase lateral stiffness. The flexural stiffness of the diagonal compression member and retrofit designs were unique to the testing program. The variables monitored during testing include gusset plate surface stresses and strains, member axial strains, out-of-plane displacement of the gusset plate free edge, and buckling capacity. The results were compared with previously established design models for predicting buckling capacity of gusset plates which include the Whitmore effective width, the Modified-Thornton method, and the FHWA Load Rating Guidelines. A parametric finite element model was developed to determine the lateral stiffness of the gusset plate connection and the additional stiffness provided by the alternative retrofit options. The results showed interaction between the diagonal compression member and gusset plate occurs, which affects sway-buckling capacity. Combination of member loads showed evidence of detrimental effects on sway-buckling capacity. Corrosion of the gusset plates along the top edge of the bottom chord did not lead to significant reduction in sway-buckling capacity. The two retrofit designs showed increases in both lateral stiffness and buckling capacity as well as economic benefits over traditional retrofit methods. Comparison of the results to the current design guidelines showed that the current methods are conservative and do not accurately represent the true behavior of gusset plate connections. The research concludes with two proposed models for future use in design and retrofit of gusset plates. The first is a member-gusset plate interaction model based on a stepped column analogy that takes into account the effects of member flexural stiffness and gusset plate stiffness. The second is a general design guideline developed for retrofit of gusset plate connections dominated by sway-buckling behavior which uses a stiffness based approach to increase the capacity of gusset plate connections.
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