Metallic Structure

Finite Element Analysis of Cable-Stayed Strands Failure due to Fire

Finite Element Analysis of Cable-Stayed Strands Failure due to Fire


Hossein Ataei, Ph.D., P.Eng., M.ASCE, Mohammadhossein Mamaghani, M.S., E.I.T, S.M.ASCE, Riyad S. Aboutaha, Ph.D., M.ASCE

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Sciences, Syracuse University, 151 Link Hall, Syracuse, New York, 13244, USA


Seventh Congress on Forensic Engineering

Location: Miami Florida, United States

Date: 2015-11-15 to 2015-11-18

Sponsors: American Society of Civil Engineers


The failure of one structural element can lead to the failure of the other structural components where ultimately result in the collapse of the large sections or the entire structure. The progressive collapse of the structures have been mainly investigated for buildings. However, the cable failure in cable-stayed bridges may cause catastrophic consequences due to the progressive collapse. This is also crucial in part given the importance of bridge infrastructure in transporting people and the goods across the country and the key role that they play in contributing towards the nation’s economy.  

In design process of the cable-stayed bridges, the possibility that the loss of one cable might be leading to the collapse of the entire structure is often overlooked. This is particularly due to the structural redundancy considerations and the high safety factors in design of the structural components for these bridges.

In this paper, the effects of a hypothetical fire and the thermal gradient propagation along a pre-stressed cable is studied using non-linear Finite Element modeling and analyses. For this purpose, the possible fire intensities and durations are studied in order to determine their effects on the strength losses in pre-stressed cables using Finite Element Method. Results of this research could be used as basis for investigation of structural failure of cable-stayed / suspended systems.

In 2013, there were 487,500 structure fires in the United States that caused 2,855 civilian deaths, 14,075 civilian injuries and $9.5 billion in total property damage (USFA, 2013).