3-D Finite Element Analysis of Early-Age Bridge Deck Cracking

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Title: 3-D Finite Element Analysis of Early-Age Bridge Deck Cracking

Author(s): W. Dekelbab, M.A.N. Hendriks, and R. Witasse

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 228

Issue:

Appears on pages(s): 1295-1314

Keywords: concrete; concrete age; DIANA software; finite elements;heat of hydration; thermal stresses

Date: 6/1/2005

Abstract:
Early-age bridge deck cracking is the single most prevalent distress on bridges reported by all of the state DOTs. Although there have been many studies performed with regard to the cause of early-age deck cracking, the problem still exists. The early-age deck cracking due to restraint thermal stresses can be predicted using the 3-D finite element program DIANA. It simulates hydration of young concrete, shrinkage, and cracks due to the environmental conditions during the construction period and the restraint of the girders and adjacent structural elements. The analysis covers two stages. The first stage covers the construction period before the bridge is opened to traffic. The second stage starts after removing the formwork including just the bridge self-weight. Simulation results including time and crack initiation enable the understanding of cracking mechanism in young concrete as a first step to avoid early-age bridge deck cracking.