Fatigue evaluation and CFRP strengthening of diaphragm cutouts in orthotropic steel decks

Lu Ke, Chuanxi Li, Jun He, Yongjun Lu, Yang Jiao, Yongming Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The cracking at the transverse diaphragm cutout is one of the most severe fatigue failures threatening orthotropic steel decks (OSDs), whose mechanisms and crack treatment techniques have not been fully studied. In this paper, full-scale experiments were first performed to investigate the fatigue performance of polished cutouts involving the effect of an artificial geometrical defect. Following this, comparative experimental testing for defective cutouts strengthened with carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) was carried out. Numerical finite element analysis was also performed to verify and explain the experimental observations. Results show that the combinative effect of the wheel load and thermal residual stress constitutes the external driving force for the fatigue cracking of the cutout. Initial geometrical defects are confirmed as a critical factor affecting the fatigue cracking. The principal stress 6 mm away from the free edge of the cutout can be adopted as the nominal stress of the cutout during fatigue evaluation, and the fatigue resistance of polished cutouts is higher than Grade A in AASHTO specification. The bonded CFRP system is highly effective in extending the fatigue life of the defective cutouts. The present study provides some new insights into the fatigue evaluation and repair of OSDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-469
Number of pages17
JournalSteel and Composite Structures
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 25 2021


  • Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP)
  • Cracking
  • Fatigue
  • Orthotropic steel deck
  • Strengthening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Metals and Alloys


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