The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 85 (2007) > Issues > Issue 21 > A new design for steel bridge decks using laser fabrication
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A new design for steel bridge decks using laser fabrication

Steel orthotropic decks provide a lightweight form of construction, essential for weight-critical structures. However, their cost and poor record of fatigue durability has discouraged their use for mainstream construction. As a result, steel decks are generally considered an option of last resort, only used where the minimisation of self-weight is essential, such as long-span and moveable bridges. An innovation is proposed to overcome these problems and transform the design of steel decks. The innovation is based upon the use of laser welding to produce an enclosed ‘sandwich panel’ profile. The sandwich profile shown below overcomes many of the constraints to structural performance associated with the use of conventional orthotropic steel decks. S. R. Bright, PhD, BEng, CEng, MICE Cass Hayward LLP, York House, Welsh Street, Chepstow J. W. Smith†, BSc (Hons), PhD, CEng, FIStructE, FICE (†Deceased) Dept. Civil Engineering, University of Bristol, Bristol