University of the West of England (UK), School of the Built and Natural Environment


Masonry arch bridges represent about 40% of the European traffic network, 60% of which are over 100 years old. Assessing the long-term fatigue strength and life expectancy of bridges is becoming increasingly necessary to enable long-term bridge management. The SMART assessment method has been proposed to assess the fatigue capacity and life expectancy of masonry arch bridges for which investigations are currently being undertaken.
Representative masonry qualities have been identified for old and new masonry arch bridges and key influencing factors were considered. Crack development process under static and cyclic loading was studied with the help of acoustic emission monitoring. Stages of crack propagation and energy release during static and cyclic loading cycles were identified and loading frequency was found to significantly influence the rate of deterioration of masonry under very low and very high frequencies.

Key words
Masonry arch bridges, fatigue deterioration, fracture process, acoustic emission