Failure Case Studies Steel Structures

Failure Case Studies  Steel Structures

Failure Case Studies  Steel Structures

This publication was developed by the Education Committee of the Forensic Engineering Division of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The current document is the first in the Failure Case Studies series in Civil Engineering and presents eight case studies of failures observed in steel structures between 1970
and 2013.

Failures in Civil Engineering: Structural, Foundation and Geoenvironmental Case Studies was first published by ASCE in 1995. Edited by Robin Shepherd and J. David Frost, the publication collected short descriptions and relevant references for 43 failure case studies. Subsequently, the Education Committee of the Forensic Engineering Division of ASCE published a second edition of the document in 2013, retitled Failure Case Studies in Civil Engineering: Structures, Foundations, and the Geoenvironment, with updates and additional case studies.

The Failure Case Studies series is a follow-on project to previous efforts by the ASCE Forensic Engineering Division and is intended to promote learning from failures by disseminating information regarding previous failure cases. The purpose of the Failure Case Studies series and their predecessor documents is to promote failure literacy to improve the practice of civil engineering and to
reduce risk to the public.
Each case study in this document presents a summary description of a documented civil engineering failure, followed by lessons learned from the failure and references for further study.
The reader is reminded that each case study only contains the findings of the research and literature review by the author(s) who directly contributed to that particular case study, based on the published results of failure investigations for each case.The contents of this document do not represent the professional or personal opinions and views of the editors, authors, contributors, or ASCE.

The West Gate Bridge, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, spans the Yarra River to connect Melbourne and its western suburbs . The bridge and its approaches, with a total length of 2,583 m (8,473 ft), rise from ground level on the west bank of the Yarra River onto a concrete viaduct, cross the river in five steel spans 58.5 m (192 ft) above the water, and finally extend onto another concrete
viaduct that reaches the east bank and descends back to ground level. The project was designed to carry four lanes of traffic in each direction at speeds of 112.7 km/h (70 mi/h).

Construction of the bridge began on April 22, 1968, in a period when this type of box girder bridge had become popular. The “skin” of the system supports local loads by resisting bending, shearing, torsion, and other load effects. In a box girder bridge, the low profile helps improve aerodynamic stability. The main drawback is that the plates that make up the “skin” are subject to distortion during fabrication, and buckling is difficult to predict.
The central bridge was designed as a five-span continuous steel box girder with stay cables radiating from two towers (Figure 1-1). The bridge consisted of a series of trapezoidal steel boxes. Each box was 4 m (13.1 ft) deep, 16 m (52.5 ft) long, and 25.5 m (83.5 ft) wide at the top flange, with a cantilever bracket (used to build extensions between the arms of the bridge) at each side extending out
another 3.2 m (10.5 ft). The usual construction method was to fabricate the boxes on the ground and to raise and bolt them in the air to create a cantilever bridge, one that has two sections (or arms) extending from opposite banks and joining in the middle, above the water.


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