Investigation of the Structural Behavior of Asphalt/Wood Deck Systems for Girder Bridges
Howard, Joseph Neil
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Glue laminated wood deck systems are commonly used for bridge decks on girder bridge systems. These decks are usually covered with a hot-mix asphalt wearing surface in conjunction with a bituminized fabric sheet waterproofing membrane. Often cracks occur in the asphalt at the intersection of two adjacent deck panels which limits the useful life of the wear surface, provides a poor riding surface and potentially allows moisture to flow to wooden bridge components. The purpose of this study was to investigate the structural behavior of asphalt/wood/membrane deck systems. This was accomplished experimentally by determining the deflection of bridge deck panels with respect to each other under simulated truck loading. A classical linear analysis model and a finite element analysis model were developed for the deck panel deflections. These analytical results were compared to the experimental results and a value of approximately 0.05 in for the interpanel differential deflection was determined to be a reasonable, conservative value for the typical configuration considered. This deflection was then used to load various asphalt/membrane/ wood configurations to investigate the effectiveness of the arrangement with regards to resisting hot-mix asphalt cracking. It was found that when subjected to repeated deflections of 0.05 in, the following experimental composite bridge deck performed best in terms of reduced cracking: 1) hot-mix asphalt base layer applied directly onto the glulam deck panel; 2) waterproofing membrane placed on the base layer of asphalt; 3) hot-mix asphalt surface layer placed on the waterproofing membrane.
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