Development of a remaining useful life (RUL) model for reinforced concrete beams subjected to high-cycle fatigue

15 Jun 2021

PURPOSE : Failure of a critical reinforced concrete beam due to fatigue can have severe safety and production consequences, and preventative repair/replacement of such a beam is expensive. It would therefore be beneficial if repair/replacement can be done based on an accurately and conservatively predicted remaining useful life (RUL). The purpose of this paper is to develop such a model. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH : Condition-based maintenance is a maintenance approach that uses empirical/analytical models and a measurable condition to predict remaining useful life. The P-F curve (condition-life) is a useful tool that can aid in making these decisions. A model to create a P-F curve is developed using rebar fatigue test results (in the form of an S–N curve) and the Palmgren-Miner law of damage accumulation. A Monte Carlo simulation with statistical distributions is employed to provide confidence levels of RUL outputs. FINDINGS : An example of how the model can successfully be used in practice is shown in this paper, and a sensitivity study is performed leading to conclusions being drawn with regard to damage tolerant design considerations. ORIGINALITY/VALUE : If a critical reinforced concrete beam fails due to fatigue can have serious consequences. This paper develops a model to help base repair/replacement decisions based on accurately and conservatively predicted RUL. Financial and safety benefits would be gained if this model would be used in practice.