Events Calendar

AISC T.R. Higgins Lecture

Towards an Integrated Fracture-control Plan for Steel Bridges
Robert J. Connor
2018 AISC T.R. Higgins Lecturer 
Professor of Civil Engineering 
Director of the S-BRITE Center 
Purdue University

There has been considerable research and interest in the topic of fracture-critical members (FCMs) during the past decade. As a result, the entire concept of what constitutes a FCM is being revisited and many long-standing ideas and opinions related to this classification of members is being shown to be overly conservative. Significant advances in the understanding of fracture mechanics, material and structural behavior, fatigue crack initiation, fatigue crack growth, fabrication technology, and inspection technology have allowed other industries to address fracture in a more integrated manner. After years of research, new stand-alone AASHTO-ready guide specifications that give codified direction on how to perform 3D system analysis to verify system redundancy, as well as guide specifications to evaluate internal member-level redundancy of mechanically-fastened built-up members, have been proposed. Additional research demonstrating the benefits of exploiting the improved toughness of modern HPS grades of steel has been completed. Through these advances, it is now possible to create an integrated FCP, combining the original intent of the 1978 FCP, with modern materials, design, fabrication, and inspection methodologies. Further, an integrated FCP will provide economic benefits and improved safety to owners by allowing for a better allocation of resources by setting inspection intervals and scope based on sound engineering rather than based simply on the calendar. In summary, an integrated FCP encompassing material, design, fabrication, and inspection can make fracture no more likely than any other limit state; ultimately, allowing for a better allocation of owner resources and increased steel bridge safety.

About the Speaker
Robert J. Connor is a professor of civil engineering and is director of the S-BRITE Center at Purdue University. Dr. Connor has worked in the area of fatigue, fracture, and other performance and durability issues related to steel bridges for over 25 years. He has published articles in conference proceedings and technical journals , mostly related to fatigue and fracture issues in steel structures, field inspection, and failure investigations. Dr. Connor has been the principal investigator on a number of NCHRP Projects, having successfully completed five NCHRP Projects as principal investigator and three as co-principal investigator. Dr. Connor’s research interests include fatigue and fracture of steel structures, field testing and remote monitoring of structures, bridge inspection reliability, and risk-based inspection methods. He received the George S. Richardson Medal in 2016, an AISC Special Achievement Award in 2012, and was the first recipient of the Robert J. Dexter Memorial Lecture Award in 2005.

Friday, October 19, 2018 at 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Kearney Hall, 112
1491 SW Campus Way, Corvallis, OR 97331

Event Type

Lecture or Presentation

Event Topic



Community, Faculty and Staff, Student, Graduate, Undergraduate, Alumni, Industry Partner, International



Free. Open to the public. Reception to follow in the Kearney Hall atrium.

Civil and Construction Engineering
Contact Name

Tara Cooper

Contact Email

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