About this Research Topic
Load testing of bridges is a practice as old as bridge engineering. In the past, load testing was used upon opening of a newly built bridge to show the traveling public that this structure is safe for use. Over the course of time, engineers have developed different practices of load testing. Procedures for field testing of new and existing bridges have been developed.
Two main types of load testing can be distinguished: diagnostic load testing and proof load testing. In general, diagnostic load testing is used to evaluate and update the analytical models that are used for the design and assessment of bridges. For new bridges, diagnostic tests can be used to demonstrate that the bridge behaves as designed. For existing bridges, diagnostic tests can be used to update the model that is used for some sort of decision-making such as determining the load rating of the bridge, load permits for special loads. Proof load testing is used to demonstrate directly that a given bridge can carry the loads prescribed by the governing code or a specification in a safe manner. For this purpose, a load corresponding to the load combination prescribed by the governing code or specification is applied to the bridge. If the bridge can carry this load without signs of distress, the test is considered to show that the bridge can fulfill specified load requirements.
This Research Topic aims to cover experiences regarding load testing of bridges, and to discuss the current lacks in knowledge and the way forward. For this purpose, contributions covering the following or closely related topics are welcome:
• Case studies of load testing of bridges
• Discussions of international practices for load testing of bridges
• Practical considerations and experience gained with regard to load testing of bridges
• Bridge load testing within the framework of infrastructure management
• Diagnostic or virtual load testing for rating and reliability assessment of bridges
• Decision-making and cost-optimization for bridge load testing
• Reliability-based considerations for assessing the safety of existing bridges through proof load testing
• Novel instrumentation techniques for bridge load testing
• Load testing of fracture- and fatigue-critical bridges
• Load testing on long span bridges
Keywords: Bridge engineering, field testing, measurement techniques, assessment, live loads