Brittle Fracture and Propagation of Crack in a Box Girder

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By Teresa Washeleski1, Robert J. Connor1

Purdue University

This video supplements Purdue University’s Steel Bridge Research, Inspection, Training, and Engineering (S-BRITE) Center report "Fatigue and Fracture Library for the Inspection, Evaluation, and Repair of Vehicular Steel Bridges."

Version 1.0 - published on 03 Jun 2015 doi:10.4231/R78K7710 - cite this Archived on 25 Oct 2016

Licensed under Attribution 3.0 Unported


This video illustrates a brittle fracture which occurs in a laboratory test of a bridge girder from a retired railroad flat car. The girder was notched and cooled using liquid nitrogen to well below -100F to ensure the steel was on the lower shelf. Load was applied to produce the fracture. Later in the video, images that were captured using a high-speed camera show the actual fracture propagation through the depth of the girder. At 10,000 frames per second, still only 3 to 5 frames capture the entire fracture event, illustrating the extremely fast crack propagation rate of such an event.

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