The product of this IDEA project is a prototype device that is hand portable and can be applied by bridge inspectors to non-destructively estimate the yield stress of in-situ gusset plates on truss bridges. The development of this prototype device and the testing methods serve three major roles for improving the practice of connection evaluations for truss bridges. It will 1) allow bridge owners to establish the material properties for bridges that do not have documentation of the materials used in construction, 2) allow rating engineers to determine if the yield stress is above the minimum required for the connection to achieve a specific rating, or 3) enable rating engineers to use the actual yield stress of the plate to extract the most capacity from the connection. The research outcome enables bridge owners to establish connection capacity with greater certainty and can thereby prevent unnecessary and costly bridge posting, rehabilitation, or replacement. The broader application of the device to existing steel infrastructure systems (not only bridges, but transit and building structures) enables higher fidelity evaluation by providing the analyst with more precise material input parameters for conducting assessments.
The contractor's final report is available.