Date of Award:

Spring 2017

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Advisor/Chair:

Paul J. Barr

Abstract

The Utah Transportation Center (UTC) as well as the Mountain Plains Consortium, sponsored a study to investigate the long-term performance of a deck bulb tee girder bridge. The bridge in question is located in Nibley, Utah and was erected in early 2016. Temperature and prestress losses were analyzed from embedded instrumentation placed within two of the bridge girders before casting. These two girders contained a total of 50 thermocouples and 16 vibrating wire strain gauges. These instruments were placed at the mid-span and end of an exterior girder and the mid-span, quarter-span, and end of a center girder in order to effectively monitor the bridge response in one quarter of the bridge superstructure.

The monitoring performed with the thermocouples included the temperature of the girders during curing, weekly maximum and minimum temperatures compared to methods for predicting the average bridge temperature, maximum and minimum thermal gradients at each of the five selected cross sections compared to Code thermal gradients, and thermal camber by measured temperature compared to models to predict thermal gradients. The 16 strain gauges measured prestress losses at four girder cross-sections, which were compared to two predictive methods provided by AASHTO as well as a method by PCI. An additional comparison of the equations provided by AASHTO and a newly available equation used for determining the modulus of elasticity of concretes with a compressive strength of 6,000 – 12,000 psi was performed.

Additional exterior instrumentation were provided by Bridge Diagnostics Inc. (BDI) in order to monitor short-term changes within the bridge. A total of 8 strain gauges were attached to the exterior of the girders with 6 attached at the bottom face of 6 girders and 2 attached at the centroid of 2 girders. These sensors as well as the software and wireless data acquisition provided a method to measure the magnitude and frequency of the ranges of strain experienced by the Nibley Bridge.

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