Manufacturing processes such as welding operations cause residual stresses that are present in most civil structures. They cause plastic deformations without any external loads and are therefore often overlooked during design. Nevertheless, residual stresses can have profound influences on material strength and fatigue life. This is also true for orthotropic steel bridge decks, which have many complex welding details. Because little is known about the distribution of residual stresses due to welding, a semi-destructive experimental test setup is developed for a stiffener-to-deck plate connection on an orthotropic steel bridge deck. In particular, the hole-drilling technique is used. With this experimental test setup, a clear distribution of the residuals stresses becomes visible. Residual stresses up to the yield strength can be found near the weld and up to 50% of the yield strength elsewhere. However, more research is needed to verify why the sign of the stresses is opposite to the expected stresses in the literature.
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