Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Computing, Engineering & Construction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)



First Advisor

Dr. Mike N. Jackson

Second Advisor

Dr. James Fletcher

Third Advisor

Dr. Adel El-Safty

Department Chair

Dr. Murat M. Tiryakioglu

College Dean

Dr. Mark A. Tumeo


The focus of this study is to investigate the cracking of concrete bridge decks and the sealants used in repairing transverse cracks. Cracking could occur in both hardened mature concrete and early age concrete. Several factors affect concrete cracking, such as age-dependent material properties, thermal- and moisture-related stresses and strains, material viscoelastic behavior, restraints, concrete expansion and contraction, casting sequence, formwork, material characteristics, and environmental exposure. The causes of early age cracking are primarily attributed to effects such as plastic shrinkage, temperature effects, autogenous shrinkage, and drying shrinkage. This deck cracking could greatly reduce durability, lead to a loss of functionality, loss of stiffness, and ultimately the loss of structural safety. The study investigates the deck cracking in general and also the transverse cracks developed in hardened concrete at early ages before service loads application. Both experimental and analytical investigations were performed. The experimental study included testing of 9 reinforced concrete slab specimens (18”x 48”x 5.5”). Cracks were induced in the slabs with different crack widths and lengths, sealed with 4 different materials of sealants, and tested under static loading. The study also included tensile testing of dry hardened samples of sealants. In addition, field application was performed on a bridge, where transverse deck cracks were sealed using 4 different sealant materials; cores were taken and tested according to ASTM-C496. The results of the testing showed that the 3-part HMWM was the best performing sealer for cracks between 0.01 and 0.019 inches of width with the epoxy sealer performing the best for cracks wider than 0.02 inches.