Fatigue load models for assessment

Project information

  • Fatigue load models for assessment of bridges
  • Sector: Rail System Forum/Infrastructure Subsystem Sector
  • Project start date: 01/01/2024
  • Duration: 24 months
  • Project director: Rosa Casquero
  • Project manager: Tuomas Kaira
  • Status: ongoing project
  • Project code: 2024/RSF/848

Project description

The accuracy of fatigue calculations is highly dependent on the initial data input. Overestimating loads in fatigue calculations can significantly affect fatigue accumulation and, consequently, the estimated fatigue life of structures. In the Eurocode (EN 1991-2 Annex D), load models for fatigue analysis are conservatively designed, which is advantageous for new structures but problematic for existing ones. Overestimating loads during assessment can lead to an overestimation of fatigue accumulation, resulting in a shortened calculated fatigue life. This may prompt the premature replacement of structures, incurring unnecessary costs.

ProRail, in collaboration with the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), has developed new, more accurate load models based on real measurement data. This project aims to verify these models with axle load data from various European countries and adjust them as needed.

Project objectives

  • Enhance Load Models: Develop and verify accurate load models for fatigue assessment by incorporating real measurement data from different European countries, improving upon the conservative models in the Eurocode.
  • Improve Service Life Estimation: Provide infrastructure managers with precise tools to estimate the remaining service life of existing structures, allowing better utilization of their fatigue life and reducing unnecessary replacements.
  • Reduce Costs and Emissions: By using more accurate fatigue load models, the project aims to prevent the premature replacement of steel structures, thereby decreasing unnecessary construction costs and associated emissions.

Project structure

The project will be divided into three work programs (WP)

WP1 - Create a state-of-the-art report, which includes fatigue assessment load models used in various countries, ongoing or completed research in this field, and best practices in fatigue assessment.
WP2 - Focus on verifying the load models developed by ProRail and TNO using axle load data from different countries, and adjusting these models if necessary.
WP3 - Produce a technical report and update the International Railway Standard (IRS). Specifically, either IRS 70778-2 will be revised to include a section on load models for fatigue assessment, or an entirely new IRS will be developed.

Project members

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Tuesday 28 May 2024