Corresponding author. H. De Backer, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium. E-mail: [email protected].
Abstract: Orthotropic steel decks (OSDs) consist of a complex network of stiffeners and the deck plate itself. Working as a whole, it takes part in the structural working of the overall bridge, which in its turn results in a lightweight and durable deck concept. Orthotropic steel decks are nevertheless very sensitive to fatigue damage, because of the large number of welded connections. Innovative research focuses on the application of fracture mechanics as well as the influence of residual stresses on the fatigue lifetime. An analysing tool using Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics (LEFM) is proposed. Manufacturing processes such as welding cause residual stresses, which are present in most civil structures. Including these results in determining the fatigue life using LEFM leads to improved OSD lifetime. Overall, it can be stated that the OSD remains a valuable bridge concept, especially for larger span bridges, that can be understood better using modern research techniques.