Reducing Deck Cracking in Composite Bridges by Controlling Long Term Properties

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Title: Reducing Deck Cracking in Composite Bridges by Controlling Long Term Properties

Author(s): Fatmir Menkulasi, Doug Nelson, Carin L. Roberts Wollmann and Tommy Cousins

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 304

Issue:

Appears on pages(s): 21-40

Keywords: composite bridges, cracking, creep, differential shrinkage, tensile stresses

Date: 10/27/2015

Abstract:
Composite concrete bridges are widely used because they combine the advantages of precast concrete with those of cast-in-place concrete. However, because of the difference in shrinkage properties between the girder and the deck and because of the sequence of construction, the deck is subject to differential shrinkage tensile stresses. These tensile stresses may lead to excessive cracking. This paper demonstrates how the likelihood of deck cracking due to differential shrinkage can be reduced and how consequently the resistance of composite concrete bridges against time dependent effects can be enhanced by choosing a deck mix with low shrinkage and high creep. An experimental study on the long term properties of seven deck mixes is presented to identify a deck mix with the aforementioned properties. A comparison of three composite concrete bridge systems used for short-to-medium-span bridges is performed to identify the bridge system that is most resistant against time dependent effects. The mix with saturated lightweight fine aggregates appears to best alleviate tensile stresses due to differential shrinkage and the bridge system with precast inverted T-beams and tapered webs appears to be the most resistant.