In recent decades, due to rapid development of urban ground transportation system, as well as increasing transportation of hazardous material, bridge fires have become a major concern in the U.S. Fire hazard in bridges can result in significant economic and public losses. Traffic on fire damaged bridges is usually hard to detour and significantly affect traffic quality in the region. Further, a severe fire may result in permanent damage or even collapse of the bridge. While the perception may be that it is unlikely that a bridge will collapse under fire, a recent nationwide survey by the NYDOT has shown that nearly three times more bridges have collapsed due to fire than earthquakes. Our group is investigating the vulnerability of steel plate girder bridges to fire, and developing predictive formulas for various temperatures. In addition, we are studying the post-fire strength of weathering steel, frequently used for bridge construction, so that engineers can make important post-fire assessment decisions.

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