Aging infrastructure has caught more and more attentions recently in the United States. Corrosion is very common in steel girder bridges due to moisture exposure, leakage through deck joints as well as the frequent use of deicing chemicals during the winter season in cold regions. Excessive rust accumulation and metal area loss pose significant concerns for structural capacity reduction in steel girders. In this study, the residual shear strength of corroded steel girder bridges is evaluated by 3-D finite element modeling and laboratory testing. Our analysis and testing are focused on the effects of web area loss and web thinning on shear and web buckling capacity reduction. The finite element models resemble the real steel corrosion forms by varying the shapes, sizes and locations of the area loss. Tests on the scaled steel beam specimens are conducted to verify the numerical modeling results. Corrosion of the steel beam specimens is controlled by soaking the beams into bleach solution for a sustained period to develop the desired amount of rust and/or by cutting holes of various sizes and shapes on the beam webs. Compression tests on these corroded specimens are conducted using the Material Testing System and the force versus deflection curves are automatically collected by a computer. The residual strengths of the steel beam specimens with different deteriorated conditions are analyzed and compared with the 3-D finite element modeling results. A simple and dependable shear strength evaluation method for corroded steel girders will be proposed.

Date of creation, presentation, or exhibit



Slides for presentation at the Western New York Association for Bridge Construction and Design 30th Annual Fall Conference, Buffalo, NY, November 2018.

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Civil Engineering Technology Environmental Management and Safety (CET)


RIT – Main Campus