Life-cycle cost, risk and sustainability analysis and prediction of performance of steel bridges with and without corrosion resistant steel

Lead University: Lehigh University
PI: Dan M. Frangopol

Steel bridges under severe chloride exposure, due to de-icing salts or marine environmental effects, require frequent maintenance and repair activities to extend their service life and maintain an adequate performance level. In addition to the direct cost, these maintenance actions may lead to indirect costs associated with traffic delays and environmental effects, which can significantly increase the life-cycle cost of the bridge under consideration. The use of more sustainable materials, such as maintenance-free steel, may increase the initial cost of the structure; however, the life-cycle cost, including the maintenance actions along the service life and their associated indirect effects, can be significantly reduced. Also, the risk and resilience of structures made of high strength steel can be significantly lower and larger than that of structures made of conventional steel, respectively. Outcomes of this project include: (a) analysis and prediction of risk, resilience, life-cycle cost and sustainability of steel bridges made with the corrosion-resistant A1010 steel; (b) analysis and prediction of risk, resilience, life-cycle cost and sustainability of steel bridges made without corrosion resistant steel; and (c) comparison between the results obtained in (a) and (b) quantifying the long-term benefits of steel bridges made of corrosion resistant steel in terms of risk, resilience, life-cycle cost and sustainability.  Outcomes from this project are relevant to the Nation’s steel bridge infrastructure, and in particular should provide economic and social benefits to Pennsylvania where steel bridges represent the majority of the total number of highway bridges. Companies such as ArcelorMittal will benefit from this project by using a risk- resilience- life-cycle cost- sustainability model that will clearly indicate the long-term benefits of using maintenance-free steel.