PITA FY2014 Projects

Efficient Fabrication Of Hps Bridge Girders Using Electroslag Welding

PI:Sougata Roy, ATLSS Engineering Research Center

University:Lehigh University

Co-PI(s):

Industry Affiliate(s):High Steel Structures
Arcelor Mittal

Summary:This collaborative research project among Lehigh University, High Steel Structures, and ArcelorMittal will demonstrate applicability of improved narrow gap Electroslag welding (ESW-NG) process for fabricating High Performance Steel (HPS) bridges. The fully automated ESW-NG process is extremely cost-effective. Moreover, the process is safe and environment friendly. The modern HPS, having excellent combination for strength, toughness and weldability, are ideal for resilient bride infrastructure. Based on available knowledgebase, however, current specifications restrict use of ESW-NG with HPS. Due to less than desirable performance of traditional ESW in the 1960s and 70s, some skepticism exists among bridge owners such as PennDOT, regarding the ductility of the welded connections made by this process. Recent testing performed by leading steel bridge fabricators have suggested that the existing limitations and the skepticisms may be unnecessary. These restrictions, however, stifles the competitive advantage of High Steel, a Pennsylvania based nationally renowned steel bridge fabricator, who has invested to make ESW-NG as the mainstream process, and limits the sales of HPS by ArcelorMittal, having their HPS plate production facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. As part of the of the proposed research project, three full scale specimens of bridge girders made of HPS and fabricated using ESW-NG process will be evaluated for fatigue and fracture performance. In addition, the fracture toughness and elongation of the weld metal and the HAZ will be evaluated for AASHTO service temperature zones 2 and 3. The research is expected to successfully demonstrate the applicability of ESW-NG for HPS bridge infrastructure. The research results will benefit Pennsylvania economy by enabling state businesses to be efficient and productive, have improved sales, global competitive edge and growth potential, less cost of building bridge infrastructure in the state, and the state’s economic growth in terms of creating new jobs, increased revenue, investment for further technology development, and retention of quality educated labor in the state.