Simulation of Degradation and Failure of Suspension Bridge Main Cables due to Natural and Anthropogenic Hazards

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CAIT project no.: CAIT-UTC-REG 22

Fiscal Year: 2018/2019

Status: Final

Principal investigator(s): Adrian Brügger, Ph.D. (PI); Raimondo Betti, Ph.D. (Co-PI)

Performing organization(s): Columbia University

Managing organization: Rutgers CAIT

In cooperation with: Parsons Transportation Group
Partner project manager: Dyab Khazem, Sr. Project Manager

Supported by: USDOT-OST-R

UTC, grant, or agreement no.: 69A3551847102


The primary goal of this proposal is to develop a well-defined methodology to estimate the remaining strength of a suspension bridge cable that has been exposed to fire. The methodology will rely on a general purpose Finite Element code (ABAQUS) that is commercially available and widely used in the profession.

The cable FEM model will be developed and calibrated using the extensive experimental data already available to the research team: this data will provide the much-needed thermo-mechanical properties for the ASTM 586 steel used in main cables. This will allow us to study the evolution of the reduction of the cable strength over time of exposure, accounting also for the cooling phase when the fire is extinguished. This FEM model is expected to 1) provide high-confidence designs of new structures, 2) retrofit existing structures with novel hardening systems, 3) quantify more accurately the hazards associated with traffic patterns and general access to cables, and 4) perform high-fidelity forensic investigations of structures subjected to fire events.