Moving Load Simulator, an investment in infrastructure research

Moving Load Simulator, an investment in infrastructure research
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    What we see here is what we call the
    Moving Load Simulator, it's the first and
    the only one in fact in Canada. What it
    does here is it tests the fatigue behaviour
    of bridges in a realistic way.
    As the heavy trucks or vehicles pass over
    the bridge, they push down on the bridge,
    and they create what you call bending and
    shear stresses. In real life, this traffic,
    it's cyclic in nature; meaning it comes and
    goes. So you have a load passing over the
    bridge and then it disappears on the other
    side, another wave of traffic comes, and so on.
    As it turned out, the way we do it now,
    loading and unloading on the same spot,
    we call it pulsating loading.
    Pulsating loading is quite different in
    nature from the real cyclic loading on the
    bridge. The number of cycles it takes to
    failure, we call it "fatigue life".
    That translates in to the number of years
    of service you can get out of the bridge.
    The need for it is, is that there's a lot
    more people shifting towards the long term
    behaviour of these bridges, and that's why
    we have a machine which is able to cycle for
    months at a time, simulating the whole
    lifetime of a bridge in as short
    as a couple of months.
    No tests to date have looked at a full-scale
    wheel load on a full-scale bridge deck.
    We believe that this will allow us to make
    a more representative vehicular loading
    scenario on the bridge decks, which will
    allow us to gain an improved understading
    of bridge deck behaviour; and this will in
    turn allow contractors and companies to
    design better bridges.
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