Saddle systems are a popular solution for supporting cables in cable-stayed bridges. Fretting fatigue failure of cables at saddle supports is a primary design consideration for these systems. Critical parameters that affect the fretting fatigue life of the cables are the contact forces and the slip displacements at the contact points between the cables and the saddle. Determining these critical parameters is the first step in evaluating the fretting fatigue life of the cables. Wear in the contact points between the cables and the saddle can affect the load distribution in saddle systems and consequently affect these critical parameters. However, the effect of wear has not been studied in the previous works. This paper first discusses the methods proposed in the literature for evaluating contact forces and slip displacements in the contact points between a cable and a saddle. Then, a finite element model of the problem and a framework for modelling the wear are presented. Finally, fretting fatigue life is determined based on the different studied approaches. The main highlights of the current study are considering the effect of wear in the simulation and employing an enhanced FE model for slip displacement calculations. The results of the basic model without wear effects showed that the first contact point between the cable and the saddle is critical for fatigue failure. However, by incorporating wear in the model, the contact force at the first point dropped and the second contact point became critical; this is in line with the observations in large-scale fatigue tests of saddle systems.

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