Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Atorod Azizinamini

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Ton-lo Wang

Second Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Arindam Gan Chowdhury

Third Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Seung Jae Lee

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Ali Mostafavi

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

committee member


Bridge, Steel, Box-Girder, Fracture Critical, Redundancy, Experimental Investigation.

Date of Defense



Based on the definition given in the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications, twin steel box-girder bridges are classified as bridges with fracture critical members (FCMs), in which a failure of a tension member is expected to lead to a collapse of the bridge. However, a number of such bridges with either a partial or full-depth crack in one girder have been reported and are still providing service without collapsing. The main objective of this research project is to understand the behavior of twin steel box-girder bridges and to develop methods for evaluating their redundancy level in the event of the fracture of one tension member.

The research project included an experimental investigation on a small-scale steel twin box-girder bridge, field testing of a full-scale twin box-girder, analysis of existing research and design data, and an extensive amount of numerical analyses carried out on calibrated 3-D nonlinear finite element models.

The results from this study provide in-depth understanding of twin steel box-girder bridge behavior before and after a fracture in the tension member occurs. In addition to the experimentally verified finite element method, the report also proposes simplified methods for evaluating the load-carrying capacity of twin steel box-girder bridges under vii concentrated loads and provides a list of important factors that could control the reserve capacity of the damaged bridge.

The main conclusion of this research is that the redundancy exists in twin steel boxgirder bridges in an event that a fracture of a tension member(s) takes place. This research project also provides a comprehensive roadmap for assessing the redundancy of twin steel box-girder bridges in which the elements of the roadmap are identified, and solutions for several of the steps are provided. The development of solutions for remaining steps of the roadmap is proposed for a future research.





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