Destructive Testing of Composite Precast Concrete Deck Panels and Buil-up Steel Plate Girders

Wesley J. Cook, Utah State University

This work made publicly available electronically on June 10, 2011.


The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) has implemented the use of precast concrete panels for bridge deck construction. A bridge utilizing these panels as a reconstruction method was decommissioned three years after the new deck installation, due to unrelated matters. Two sections of this bridge were salvaged and sent to Utah State University (USU) for destructive testing.

Each bridge section consisted of two built-up steel plate girders intact with the precast concrete deck panels. The precast panels were designed and constructed to achieve full composite action between the deck and built-up steel plate girders through the use of Nelson shear studs. Additionally, the precast panels span the transverse direction and as such have a transverse joint. Historic data has shown the transverse joint to be an area of concern for the functionality of the structural system.

Flexure, beam shear, and punching shear of the deck ultimate capacities were compared to those calculated in accordance to the AASTHO Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) Bridge Design Specifications. Various experimental tests considered the affects of the transverse joint on the elastic and plastic capacities and code adherence. Nine destructive tests were performed. The Nelson shear studs were found to be capable of achieving the ultimate capacities of all three types of performed tests and therefore a significant level composite action was attained throughout the experimental tests. The transverse joints show a slight decrease in flexural elastic capacity, no measurable influence on flexural plastic capacity and beam shear ultimate capacity, and a 40% decrease to ultimate punching shear capacity to the deck compared to punching shear capacity without a transverse joint.