Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Andrew Sorensen


Andrew Sorensen


Marv Halling


Sierra Young


Ryan Dupont


Wade Goodridge


Recently, significant advances have been made in the development of rapid setting cementitious materials for partial depth bridge deck repair. The rapid set times of these materials allow for traffic to be re-opened onto the bridge deck in several hours versus days once the material has been placed. While this is a substantial improvement in reducing the traffic closure time, a large amount of time is still spent on the removal of damaged and deteriorated bridge deck and in preparing the concrete cutouts for placement of the rapid set material. Partial deck removal is a much more delicate process than full deck or pavement roadway removal as the soundness of the concrete surrounding and below the cut out must be maintained. Therefore, the patch preparation process is extremely labor intensive. With the recent development of autonomous machinery this labor-intensive process may be able to become more efficient. However, prior to developing autonomous machines to prepare the patches, foundational research on methods that reduce the preparation time and that can be easily automated needs to be carried out. Additionally, some removal and preparation methods have more of an environmental impact than others.

The overall objective of this dissertation seeks to study different removal methods to decrease the traffic closure time due to the preparation process for partial depth replacement and improve the efficiency of the concrete removal methods as well as evaluate the life cycle sustainability of those techniques. The initial portion of the study evaluates the current partial deck removal techniques currently used in practice including sawing, jackhammering, milling, and hydro-demolition. Each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages when it comes to partial deck removal.

A comparative study of the different concrete removal methods is carried out to identify the least invasive environmental removal technique for partial depth bridge deck repair. An experimental study is designed to remove the concrete patches using different discretized sawing-jackhammering methods to evaluate those techniques based on removal time, life cycle sustainability, and the effect on the concrete surrounding the patch. Furthermore, the different equipment used during the concrete removal process is evaluated to assess the minor/major cracks which could be developed to a concrete failure. For example, using a hydro-demolition technique for partial-depth repairing causes a punch through problem. A small-trial experiment of water jet impacts on concrete is conducted to investigate the influenced parameters of punch through occurrence. A finite element model using LS-DYNA software is developed to simulate the concrete behavior under the impacts of the high-pressure water jet and an optimization analysis of the process parameters is determined.