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Ultrasonic Measurement of Stress in Pin and Hanger Connections



A V. Clark, David T. Gallagher, C S. Hehman, P A. Fuchs, M G. Lozev


Pin and hanger connections are used in bridges to suspend an interior span from the outer spans. The connections can sometimes lock up due to corrosion. If lockup ocurs the stresses in the connection are cycled due to thermal expanison and contraction of the bridge; fatigue cracking and failure may occur. We constructed an apparatus to simulate a locked-up pin and hanger connection. We performed proof of concept tests of a method to detect stresses in pin and hanger connections. The method uses the stress-induced changes in sound velocity of shear waves polarized parallel and perpendicular to the hanger axis. The birefringence is the normalized difference in these shear wave velocities. We measured the birefringence at opposite sides of the hangers, at midsection. We simulated three scenarios: continuous monitoring of hanger status; intermittent monitoring from a known initial state; measurement with no a prior knowledge of hanger status. Good agreement with strain gauge data was obtained for all three scenarios.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 5080
Report Number


bridges, connections, EMATs, stress, ultrasonics


Clark, A. , Gallagher, D. , Hehman, C. , Fuchs, P. and Lozev, M. (1999), Ultrasonic Measurement of Stress in Pin and Hanger Connections, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed July 23, 2024)


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Created January 1, 1999, Updated October 16, 2008