Destructive Testing and Finite-Element Modeling of Full-Scale Bridge Sections Containing Precast Deck Panels

Travis R. Brackus, Utah State University

This work made publicly available electronically on January 19, 2011.


Full-depth, precast panel deck systems are becoming more common in bridge installation and repair. The objective of these systems is to achieve the performance of cast-in-place systems while simultaneously saving time and money. The structural behavior of these systems has been the subject of scrutiny in recent research. The Utah Department of Transportation demolished a steel I-girder bridge containing a precast panel deck system and provided two full-scale specimens for this project. Destructive testing was performed at Utah State University on the specimens to investigate three failure modes: flexural, beam shear, and punching shear. Finite-element models were created using ANSYS software to replicate experimental behavior. Overall, it was found that the elastic, post-elastic, and ultimate behavior of the full-scale bridge sections containing precast panel deck systems can be accurately predicted in analytical models.

Another aspect of this project was to investigate changes in dynamic behavior as the system was subjected to flexural yield and failure. Point loads were applied and removed in increments, and dynamic testing was conducted at each load level. It was found that significant damage is somewhat noticeable by monitoring the changes in natural frequencies.