Fatigue life assessment of FRP cable for long-span cable-stayed bridge


There has been significant advancement in the design and development of cable-stayed bridges thus attracting interests in the field of civil engineering. Generally, they comprise of high-strength steel wires together with anchor systems. Unfortunately, these systems are susceptible to various forms of damages and failures due to causes such as fatigue damage, corrosions and vibration. Therefore, researchers have been looking for effective alternatives to improve their efficiency, functionality, and lifecycle.

This is specifically to reduce the need for frequent maintenance and cable replacements. In a recently published literature, carbon fiber reinforced polymer has been identified as a suitable replacement for steels owing to their efficient mechanical properties and high corrosion resistance.

This has seen the rapid increase in the use of carbon fiber reinforced polymers in the design and construction of cable-stayed bridges across the globe. However, their feasibility for long-span cable-stayed bridges is not certain. To this end, engineers assessed the stability and dynamic performance of long-span bridges through structural analysis and optimization procedures to minimize accidents related to failures. Also considering the increasing traffic volumes, understanding the fatigue behavior of the stayed cable systems is highly desirable in the design and evaluation of high-performance bridges.

To this note, Southeast University researchers: Dr. Bo Feng, Professor Xin Wang and Professor Zhishen Wu assessed the relationship between the fatigue life and safety factor in long-span cable-stayed bridges. In particular, they investigated the fatigue behavior of different types of materials i.e. carbon fiber reinforced polymers, basalt fiber reinforced polymers and steel. They aimed at improving the overall performance and life span of cable-stayed bridges through developing effective design and maintenance guidelines. Their work is currently published in the research journal, Composite Structures.

In brief, the research team cross-examined the fatigue cycles of the cables during design life. Secondly, the finite element analysis method was used to determine the stress amplitudes of the most unfavorable cable position. Next, the fatigue behavior of the cables was assessed based on the design stress and service life taking into account the sagging effects. Lastly, they evaluated the fatigue life of different cable made of different materials under varying safety factors by the equivalent transformation.

The authors observed that for long-span bridges going up to 2000m, fiber reinforced polymer cables exhibited longer fatigue life as compared to steel cables. The behavior of he sagging effects of the three materials: carbon fiber reinforced polymer, and basalt fiber reinforced polymer were reported to be significantly smaller than steel cable when the main-span increasing to 2000m. In addition, the fatigue life was noted to depend on the safety factors. For instance, carbon fiber reinforced polymer showed a higher increase in fatigue life with an increase in the safety factors as compared to basalt fiber reinforced polymer and steel in that order.

In summary, Professor Xin Wang and the research team investigated the fatigue life behavior of fiber reinforced polymers cables for the design of long-span cable-stayed bridges. To actualize their study, they accessed the 100-300 year fatigue life of the cables. In general, they came up with various safety factors for basalt fiber reinforced polymer, carbon fiber reinforced polymer and steel cables, as 3.27, 2.55 and 3.64 for 100-year fatigue life respectively. Altogether, the study provides vital information that will advance the design and maintenance of long-span cable-stayed bridges.

Fatigue life assessment of FRP cable for long-span cable-stayed bridge - Advances in Engineering
Design safety factor for different types of cables
Fatigue life assessment of FRP cable for long-span cable-stayed bridge - Advances in Engineering
Fatigue life prediction model of the cables with safety factors

About the author

Wu Zhishen is foreign academician of Japanese academy of engineering. He received his Ph.D. in engineering from Nagoya University in march 1990. He is the national special expert of the “Thousand Talents Program” of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee and the lecture professor of the ” Cheung Kong Scholars Programme” of the Ministry of Education in China. He is currently the special assistant to the president of Southeast University, the dean of the Institute of Urban Engineering Science and Technology of Southeast University, the director of the Academic Committee of the College of Civil Engineering, the academic leader of the first-level disciplines, and the director of the National Joint Local Engineering Research Center of Basalt Fiber Production and Application Technology.

Prof. Wu Zhishen is the chief scientist of the National Key research Program (973) and the “Key Technologies and Applications for High Performance and Structural Property Improvement of Fiber Reinforced Composites” completed by him won the second prize of the National Science and Technology Progress Award in 2012. He was elected a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2014. In April 2016, the International Society of Civil Engineering Fiber Reinforced Composites (IIFC) announced the award of IIFC Medal to Professor Wu Zhishen. In 2017, he won the second prize of the National Technology Invention.

Prof. Wu Zhishen made outstanding achievements in a wide range of research fields including composite materials, structures, disaster prevention and mitigation engineering, engineering mechanics, intelligent engineering and so on. In recent years, he has published more than 200 papers in international journals, more than 200 papers in international conferences, get 17 invention patents or standard, and published 6 books. He won many awards such as the 1990 Paper Award of Japanese Civil Engineering Society (the highest academic award) and the 2005 Japanese Composite Society Technical Award. Prof. Wu Zhishen is active in the international academic circles. He has served as the editor-in-chief or invited editor-in-chief for more than 10 international core and important journals. He have also more than 40 positions served as a council member, executive director, secretary general, vice president in academic committee and other relevant international societies.

About the author

Xin Wang is a Professor, Ph.D. Supervisor of School of Civil Engineering, Vice Dean of International Institute for Urban Systems Engineering (IIUSE), Southeast University (SEU), China. In 2006 and 2010, he received the Master and PhD degree in Structural Engineering from SEU and Ibaraki University, Japan, respectively. He was promoted as a Professor in 2015 at SEU.

His main research interests include long-term performance and durability evaluation, control and lifting technology of Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP). He has lead 7 research projects related to above interests and is currently leading two grants from the National Key Research and Development Program and the National Nature Science Foundation. He is also involved in several Key National Research Projects and it is mentioned that Dr. Wang is serving as a coordinator for National Key Basic Research Program of China (973 Program), which is regarded as the most important research project in China. Prof. Wang has published over 70 papers including 45 SCI-indexed journal papers and owned 12 patents. He has been invited to give lectures in 12 national and international conferences. Prof. Wang is the Council Member and Executive Committee Member of International Institute for FRP in Construction (IIFC), the member of ACI, IABSE, and SAMPE.

About the author

Bo Feng is a PhD in the field of composites structures in Southeast University of China. His main research interests include long-span FRP cable structures and FRP cable anchorage system. She has published 4 technical papers in reputable journals such as Journal of Composites for Construction, Composites Structure, and Advances in Structural Engineering. He was also invited to give oral presentation in prestigious international conferences such as the Asia-Pacific Conference on FRP in Structures Engineering, the International Symposium on Fiber Reinforced Polymers for Reinforced Concrete Structures, SAMPE China International Conference, and International Conference on Composites/Nano Engineering.


Feng, B., Wang, X., & Wu, Z. (2019). Fatigue life assessment of FRP cable for long-span cable-stayed bridge. Composite Structures, 210, 159-166.

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