Investigation of Likelihood of Cracking in Reinforced Concrete Bridge Decks

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One of the biggest problems affecting bridges is the transverse cracking and deterioration of concrete bridge decks. The causes of early age cracking are primarily attributed to plastic shrinkage, temperature effects, autogenous shrinkage, and drying shrinkage. The cracks can be influenced by material characteristics, casting sequence, formwork, climate conditions, geometry, and time dependent factors. The cracking of bridge decks not only creates unsightly aesthetic condition but also greatly reduces durability. It leads to a loss of functionality, loss of stiffness, and ultimately loss of structural safety. This investigation consists of field, laboratory, and analytical phases. The experimental and field testing investigate the early age transverse cracking of bridge decks and evaluate the use of sealant materials. The research identifies suitable materials, for crack sealing, with an ability to span cracks of various widths and to achieve performance criteria such as penetration depth, bond strength, and elongation. This paper also analytically examines the effect of a wide range of parameters on the development of cracking such as the number of spans, the span length, girder spacing, deck thickness, concrete compressive strength, dead load, hydration, temperature, shrinkage, and creep. The importance of each parameter is identified and then evaluated. Also, the AASHTO Standard Specification limits live-load deflections to L/800 for ordinary bridges and L/1000 for bridges in urban areas that are subject to pedestrian use. The deflection is found to be an important parameter to affect cracking. A set of recommendations to limit the transverse deck cracks in bridge decks is also presented. © 2013 The Author(s).

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International Journal of Concrete Structures and Materials





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