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Fatigue Life Estimation of a Highway Sign Structure

Kacin, Jennifer Ann (2009) Fatigue Life Estimation of a Highway Sign Structure. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Sign structures stand along every highway and interstate across the country in order to guide motorists to their destination. Such structures are repeatedly subjected to natural wind gusts and gusts from vehicles passing underneath. Over time, the members within the structure may begin to succumb to fatigue due to this cyclical loading, in the form of cracks in the members and in the connections. The goal of this project is to determine the fatigue life of an overhead four-chord truss sign structure located in Pennsylvania in both a damaged and undamaged state. A finite element model of the structure was made using commercial software and a time varying natural wind load was applied to it. The stress history of critical elements was then extracted from the model's solution. Complete stress cycles were counted and then a linear damage accumulation method was used in order to find the fatigue life in the critical members. The non-damaged structure's critical members were found to have an infinite fatigue, as were the damaged structure's critical members. Despite this, members with welded connections should still be closely monitored during inspection because they have the highest potential for failure.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kacin, Jennifer Annjak52@pitt.eduJAK52
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRizzo, Piervincenzopir3@pitt.eduPIR3
Committee MemberBrigham, Johnbrigham@pitt.eduBRIGHAM
Committee MemberHarries, Kent A.kharries@engr.pitt.eduKHARRIES
Date: 29 June 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 24 February 2009
Approval Date: 29 June 2009
Submission Date: 16 March 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Civil and Environmental Engineering
Degree: MSCE - Master of Science in Civil Engineering
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: sign structure modeling; stress-life
Other ID:, etd-03162009-132250
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:32
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:37


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