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Title:Fatigue Performance of Brass Breakaway Light Pole Couplings
Author(s):Rudd, Joseph; Banas, Gregory; Hahin, Christopher
Subject(s):Breakaway couplings
CDA 360 brass
fatigue life
stress concentration factor
light poles
wind pressures
finite element methods
Abstract:Breakaway couplings connect light pole bases to foundation anchor bolts and are intended to fracture on impact after vehicle collision to protect drivers and passengers from severe injury. The coupling consists of an internally threaded hollow hexagon made of half‐hard CDA 360 brass with a thread‐locked stainless steel stud. Several designs of the notched hexagonal shaped coupling were tested in bending by attaching them to a simulated pole tube and base and then inducing stresses by deflection of the tube by a hydraulic jack. Individual couplings were also fatigued in axial tension‐compression by a servo‐controlled universal testing machine. Using the data obtained, the axial tension‐compression fatigue relationship for the brass couplings was ΔS = 433 N –0.153, where ΔS is the alternating stress from tension to compression. Finite element analysis using ABAQUS® found that stress concentrations in the external notch radius and the internal threads were accurate to about 20% of the values obtained from experimental strain gage data. The stress concentration factors for the final design were determined to be Ktt = 10.8 in tension and Ktc = 10.4 in compression. Couplings were fatigue tested in laboratory air at room temperatures in the range of 104 to 107 cycles. Couplings that were exposed to 1000 hr of salt fog prior to fatigue testing showed no difference in fatigue life compared to couplings fatigued in air. Standard structural theory was used to determine the nominal stresses of couplings attached to steel poles subjected to winds of 90 mph. Using an average stress concentration factor Ktavg of 10.6, the peak coupling stress in various orientations of the pole base with respect to the wind direction was determined to be 24.1 ksi. When a more accurate segmental wind pressure method of determining moments acting on the pole base was used, the calculated peak stress was 23.9 ksi. At 90 mph, a +24 ksi to –24 ksi alternating stress develops, resulting in a 50% mean fatigue life estimated at 1,799,000 cycles. Variances in notch section were caused by straightness deviations of hexagon stock and from drilling and tapping operations, averaging 4.2% to a maximum of 9%. The fatigue initiation zone was about 30⁰ of the notch circumference. The probability that four couplings would have only the weakest one facing the maximum wind exposure is 30⁰/360⁰/4, which is about 2% of the time. Maximum wind speeds recorded in Illinois are less than the 90 mph AASHTO requirement. Decreasing notch depth by 9% would lessen the likelihood of premature failure due to insufficient load‐bearing section of the coupling notch.
Issue Date:2013-04
Genre:Technical Report
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Peer Reviewed:not peer reviewed
Sponsor:Illinois Department of Transportation R27‐80
Rights Information:No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, Virginia 22161
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-09-19

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