Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Computing, Engineering & Construction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. School of Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Adel ElSafty

Rights Statement

Department Chair

Dr Murat M. Tiryakioglu

College Dean

Dr. Mark A. Tumeo


The use of the empirical deck design method has increased its acceptance due to the economic advantages that it presents when compared to its counterpart, the traditional method. This can be attributed to the fact that the empirical method provides an appropriate design where the deck withstands stress not only due to the steel reinforcement but to an implicit arching membrane stress set-up as an effect of the lateral restraint surrounding the deck slab known as Compressive Membrane Action (CMA).

It has been proved through research that most design codes underestimate the strength of laterally restrained slabs. However, there is still a lack of acceptance in practical bridge design codes. This thesis presents an analysis addressing the influence that the lateral stiffness of the support beams has on the overall bridge deck performance. The lateral stiffness behavior was assessed through a programmed electronic spreadsheet where a comparison with different current code requirements and an additional approach was made.

Through this analysis it was determined that not only does the support beam lateral stiffness plays an important role in the overall bridge deck slab ultimate capacity, but mapping out this influence is a priority that may also be useful in setting the basis for future design criteria.