Year of Publication

2014

Season of Publication

Spring

Paper Type

Master's Thesis

College

College of Computing, Engineering & Construction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)

Department

Engineering

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. School of Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Adel ElSafty

Second Advisor

Dr. Thobias Sando

Third Advisor

Dr. James Fletcher

Department Chair

Dr. Murat M. Tiryakioglu

College Dean

Dr. Mark A. Tumeo

Abstract

This research evaluated the feasibility of the empirical design method for reinforced concrete bridge decks for the Florida Department of Transportation [FDOT]. There are currently three methods used for deck design: empirical method, traditional method and finite element method. This research investigated and compared the steel reinforcement ratios and the stress developed in the reinforcing steel for the three different methods of deck design. This study included analysis of 15 bridge models that met the FDOT standards. The main beams were designed and load rated using commercial software to obtain live load deflections. The bridges were checked to verify that they met the empirical method conditions based on the FDOT Structures Design Guidelines – January 2009. The reinforced concrete decks were designed using the traditional design method. Then the bridges were analyzed using three-dimensional linear finite element models with moving live loads. The reinforced concrete decks were designed using dead load moment, live load moment, and future wearing surface moment obtained from the finite element models. The required reinforcing steel ratio obtained from the finite element method was compared to the required reinforcing steel ratio obtained from traditional design method and the empirical design method. Based on the type of beams, deck thicknesses, method of analysis, and other assumptions used in this study, in most cases the required reinforcing steel obtained from the finite element design is closer to that obtained from the empirical design method than that obtained from the traditional design method. It is recommended that the reinforcing steel ratio obtained from the empirical design method be used with increased deck thicknesses to control cracking in the bridge decks interior bays.

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