Associate Professor Bill Wright is in the initial stages of a new study, funded by the Transportation Research Board, to identify critical members in steel bridges that need to be protected from failure by fracture. The funding includes the development of an improved method to determine the structural consequence if brittle fracture occurs.
Based on his expertise in engineering and materials for bridge spans, Wright predicts his new work on a fracture control plan for steel bridges “promises to change bridge fabrication and inspection practices.”
Currently the Federal Highway Administration requires more intensive inspection for structures that are at risk from fracture failure, a major cost factor for bridge maintenance budgets. The current fracture control plan was developed in the 1960s and has not kept up with advances in materials and computerized system analysis.
Follow this link to read about Wright’s work, as featured in the Virginia Tech News:http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2011/12/122011- engineering-bridgefabricationinspection.html