Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Engineering Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Dr. F.M. Bartlett


Corrosion in steel bridge members is common in Northern climates and can occur uniformly in the vehicle splash zone or locally near connections. The analysis of corroded compression members in steel bridges is often uncertain due to a lack of experimentally verified theoretical knowledge of their underlying mechanics. Code criteria for analyzing compression members with section loss may be overly conservative because the effect of localized deterioration on local and Euler buckling is not well understood.

The research reported in this thesis clarifies the local buckling susceptibility of corroded steel bridge compression members. A finite element analysis model was developed to predict the critical load causing local buckling of a W-shape given a predetermined flange cross sectional loss. The finite element analysis model was validated experimentally with five full-scale column tests with idealized corrosive patterns. A robust sensitivity analysis was conducted to determine the sensitivity of the axial capacity to geometric variables that affect local buckling for a range of slenderness ratios. A simplified assessment method, based on data obtained in the sensitivity study, is presented that accounts for both localized and uniform deterioration in steel bridge compression members with corroded flanges. This method provides engineers with a means to quickly and conservatively assess the reduced capacity of such members.



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