Field-Observed Cracking of Paired Lightweight and Normalweight Concrete Bridge Decks

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Title: Field-Observed Cracking of Paired Lightweight and Normalweight Concrete Bridge Decks

Author(s): Tara L. Cavalline, Jeremy T. Calamusa, Amy M. Kitts, Brett Q. Tempest

Publication: IJCSM

Volume: 11

Issue: 1

Appears on pages(s): 85-97

Keywords: lightweight concrete, bridge decks, cracking, durability, field study.

Date: 3/30/2017

Abstract:
Research has suggested that conventional lightweight concrete can offer durability advantages due to reduced cracking tendency. Although a number of publications exist providing the results of laboratory-based studies on the durability performance of lightweight concrete (with lightweight coarse aggregate) and internally cured concrete (using prewetted lightweight fine aggregate), far fewer field studies of durability performance of conventional lightweight concrete bridge decks in service have been performed. This study was commissioned to provide insight to a highway agency on whether enhanced durability performance, and therefore reduced maintenance and longer lifecycles, could be anticipated from existing lightweight concrete bridge decks that were not intentionally internally cured. To facilitate performance comparison, each lightweight bridge deck selected for inclusion in this study was paired with a companion normalweight bridge deck on a bridge of similar structural type, deck thickness, and geometric configuration, with similar age, traffic, and environmental exposure. The field-observed cracking of the decks was recorded and evaluated, and crack densities for transverse, longitudinal, and pattern cracking of the normalweight and lightweight deck in each pair were compared. Although some trends linking crack prevalence to geographic location, traffic, and age were observed, a distinct difference between the cracking present in the paired lightweight and normalweight bridge decks included in this study was not readily evident. Statistical analysis using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) to adjust for age and traffic influence did not indicate that the type of concrete deck (lightweight or normalweight) is a statistically significant factor in the observed cracking. Therefore, for these service environments, lightweight decks did not consistently demonstrate reduced cracking.


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