Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stretching exercises: Using digital images to understand bridge failures

Date:
January 11, 2012
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Summary:
With a random-looking spatter of paint specks, a pair of cameras, and a whole lot of computer processing, engineers have been helping assure the safety of hundreds of truss bridges across the United States.Researchers have been testing the use of a thoroughly modern version of an old technique, "photogrammetry," to watch the failure of a key bridge component in exquisite detail.

Photogrammetry at work: NIST and the FHWA used random patterns of speckles painted on metal to better understand how stress and strain could lead to catastrophic failure.
Credit: NIST

With a random-looking spatter of paint specks, a pair of cameras and a whole lot of computer processing, engineer Mark Iadicola of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been helping the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in cooperation with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), to assure the safety of hundreds of truss bridges across the United States. Iadicola has been testing the use of a thoroughly modern version of an old technique -- photographic measurement or "photogrammetry" -- to watch the failure of a key bridge component in exquisite detail.

The impetus for the FHWA project was the disastrous collapse of the Interstate 35-W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On Aug. 1, 2007, in the middle of the evening rush hour, a thousand feet of the bridge's main deck truss collapsed, part of it falling 108 feet into the Mississippi River. Thirteen people died. One hundred and forty five were injured.

According to FHWA engineer Justin Ocel, an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), assisted by FHWA, determined that the immediate culprit was a failed gusset plate, a flat heavy piece of steel bolted in pairs to join the ends of the steel members that make up the bridge truss. As a result of a design error decades before, the gusset plates in the bridge were about half as thick as they should have been.

Although that design flaw was clearly a major factor in the disaster, Ocel says, the collapse highlighted the fact that gusset plates were not generally considered by engineers during periodic reviews of bridge capacity, a process called load rating. It was assumed that gusset plates were properly sized to be stronger than the members they connect. "One of the recommendations from the NTSB was that we include gusset plates in load ratings, and until that point it hadn't been done," Ocel explains. "To assist the states with this process we developed a guidance document on how to load rate gusset plates."

In developing the guidance, Ocel says, FHWA used the best available data on the failure modes of gusset plates in major bridges -- but there wasn't much. So at the FHWA's Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in Virginia they began building full-scale models of bridge gusset plate joints and pulling them apart with a huge hydraulic test machine.

NIST's Iadicola is there to watch what happens as the plate stretches and fails. He covers the plate with an irregular pattern of paint speckles and then trains a pair of carefully calibrated, high-definition digital cameras on it. The cameras repeatedly image the plate, send the pictures to a computer that uses custom software to compare each image to the previous one, and calculate which of the paint spots have moved, in what direction and by how much. Using two cameras allows the computer to "see" the plate in three dimensions, so it can tell if points on the surface move in or out as well as up, down or sideways.

"The NIST digital image correlation method is a good complement to the FHWA measurement methods," Iadicola explains. "Their techniques -- strain gages and photoelasticity -- are very good for the normal range of stress in which the plate will stretch and spring right back to its original shape. Our method can tell you a little about that, but it really shines in showing you what happens past that point, when the plate starts permanently deforming and finally rips apart. The failure modes."

After more than a year of experiments, Ocel says, the FHWA has learned a lot about how to predict what loads will cause a gusset plate to fail. Currently, FHWA is working with AASHTO to translate those findings into language that can be adopted into the AASHTO Bridge Design Specification and Manual for Bridge Evaluation, two documents used throughout the country for designing and load rating bridges.

The FHWA project is just one of a range of applications for digital image correlation being studied at NIST, Iadicola says. "We've been using it in looking at sheet metal forming -- you have very high strains during the forming process -- and we've used it at very small scales, looking at targets with an optical microscope."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Stretching exercises: Using digital images to understand bridge failures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120111134051.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (2012, January 11). Stretching exercises: Using digital images to understand bridge failures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120111134051.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Stretching exercises: Using digital images to understand bridge failures." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120111134051.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Is Magic Leap, And Why Is It Worth $500M?

What Is Magic Leap, And Why Is It Worth $500M?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Magic Leap isn't publicizing much more than a description of its product, but it’s been enough for Google and others to invest more than $500M. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins