Life-Cycle NDT Planning of Fatigue-Critical Bridge Details Based on Discounted Discounted Utility Theory

Bridges are subjected to fatigue damage during their service life. Non-destructive testing (NDT) can detect fatigue cracks in bridges. The information obtained from NDT can update the life-cycle performance of fatigue-sensitive bridges. This information can also support decisions regarding repair actions to ensure serviceability and safety of bridges during their service life. As NDT brings in additional cost, NDT-based inspection should be carefully planned to maximize life-cycle performance and minimize life-cycle cost. In this paper, a novel method based on discounted utility theory (DUT) is proposed to assist in decision making of NDT planning, including the type of inspections and the inspection times. Compared to conventional inspection planning methods, the proposed method considers the preference of decision-makers for inspection times among schedules with similar life-cycle cost and similar life-cycle performance. Considering similar life-cycle cost and lifecycle performance, decision makers prefer shorter inspection/repair intervals and sooner return of investment. For this purpose, DUT is employed to quantify this preference and incorporate it into the framework of life-cycle NDT planning. The proposed method is illustrated by conducting NDT planning for a fatigue-critical detail of a steel bridge.



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