Fatigue behavior of post-installed shear connectors used to strengthen continuous non-composite steel bridge girders
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Many older bridges in Texas are constructed with floor systems consisting of a concrete slab over steel girders. A potentially economical means of strengthening these floor systems is to connect the existing concrete slab and steel girders using post-installed shear connectors to change the behavior of the beam from non-composite to partially-composite. Since fatigue is one of the main concerns in designing bridges, investigating the fatigue properties of these post-installed shear connectors becomes crucial. Results from direct-shear testing show that post-installed shear connectors have a better fatigue life compared to conventional welded shear studs. However, based on currently available data from direct-shear tests, fatigue life of post-installed shear connectors is still inadequate for economical retrofit in some cases. Furthermore, it is unclear if direct-shear tests provide an appropriate means of evaluating fatigue performance. The objective of this dissertation is to develop new and more accurate approaches for evaluating the fatigue characteristics of post-installed shear connectors. This objective is addressed through large-scale beam fatigue tests and computational studies. The focus of the work is on evaluating fatigue life of shear connectors based on both slip and stress demands.