Low-frequency sine webs for improved shear buckling performance of plate girders

Peter Y. Wang, Maria E. Garlock, Theodore P. Zoli, Spencer E. Quiel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Steel plate girders are used extensively in buildings and bridges. Given shear rarely governs, minimizing web thickness is desirable. However, web slenderness can enable shear buckling and fatigue problems. The traditional strategy is to use welded transverse stiffeners; yet transversely-stiffened girders are prone to fatigue cracks and difficult to fabricate at high slenderness ratios. Thus, AASHTO currently limits web slenderness to 150. Alternatively, corrugated web girders overcome these deficiencies but require robotic welding for the web-to-flange weld. Corrugated webs are also limited to small web thicknesses (6mm or less) and girder depths (less than 1.5m) given web forming limits. The authors propose an alternative web geometry, introducing low-frequency sinusoids (LFS) in the web along its length. The LFS web can be welded to the flanges using semi-automatic weld techniques currently employed by bridge fabricators. The reduced web curvature allows for a wider array of web forming techniques with much larger plate thicknesses. In a finite element study, web geometric properties such as sinusoidal frequency and amplitude are varied. Results demonstrate a significant increase in the elastic shear buckling load and ultimate strength using a wavelength equal to the depth of the girder. The results of this study show promise for improved girder durability paired with material efficiency, demonstrating that a web product with constant amplitude and wavelength could work for various girder depths up to 3m and above.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication20th Congress of IABSE, New York City 2019
Subtitle of host publicationThe Evolving Metropolis - Report
PublisherInternational Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE)
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9783857481659
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Event20th IABSE Congress, New York City 2019: The Evolving Metropolis - New York City, United States
Duration: Sep 4 2019Sep 6 2019

Publication series

Name20th Congress of IABSE, New York City 2019: The Evolving Metropolis - Report


Conference20th IABSE Congress, New York City 2019: The Evolving Metropolis
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York City

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Building and Construction
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


  • Bridges
  • Corrugated web
  • Finite element
  • Low-frequency sine web
  • Shear buckling
  • Sinusoidal web


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