Reduction of Crack Widths in Steel Reinforced Concrete Bridge Decks with Fiber Addition

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Title: Reduction of Crack Widths in Steel Reinforced Concrete Bridge Decks with Fiber Addition

Author(s): Anil Patnaik, Prince Baah, Perry Ricciardi, and Waseem Khalifa

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 319

Issue:

Appears on pages(s): 1.1-1.20

Keywords: Bridge deck cracking; continuous span structural slab bridges; crack widths; epoxy coated bars; fiber reinforced concrete; load testing; deck slabs; crack resistance

Date: 6/1/2017

Abstract:
Bridge deck cracking is a common problem in the United States, and affects the durability and service life of reinforced concrete bridges. Physical inspections of three-span structural slab bridges in Ohio revealed cracks wider than ⅛ inch (3.2 mm). ACI 224R-01 recommends a maximum crack width of 0.007 inch (0.18 mm) for members exposed to de-icing chemicals. The primary objective of this study was to investigate the effects of fiber addition on crack resistance. In an attempt to minimize deck cracking, slab specimens with basalt MiniBar or polypropylene fiber were also investigated in the test program. Slab tests revealed that the specimens with longitudinal epoxy-coated bars developed first crack at smaller loads, exhibited wider cracks and a larger number of cracks, and failed at smaller ultimate loads compared to the corresponding test specimens with uncoated (black) bars. Test specimens with fiber exhibited higher cracking loads, smaller crack widths, smaller mid-span deflections and higher ultimate failure loads compared to identical specimens without fiber. Addition of fiber to concrete with no changes to internal steel reinforcement details is expected to reduce the severity and extent of cracking in reinforced concrete bridge decks demonstrating that fiber addition improves crack resistance of bridge decks.