Shear Strength of Full-Scale Prestressed Lightweight Concrete Girders with Composite Decks
Although design codes have accepted lightweight concrete as a suitable structural material for nearly 50 years, there is still a good deal of uncertainty as to how to calculate the strength of this material when designing for shear in beams. Design codes tend to penalize lightweight concrete due to its lower tensile strength and smoother interface along the shear cracks. In this study, there were twelve tests on six full-scale, prestressed girders with composite decks designed to provide answers to some of those uncertainties. The variables considered were concrete density, concrete compressive strength, effective shear depth, shear span-to-effective depth ratio, the amount of shear reinforcement, and the composite cross-sectional area. Results show that the sand-lightweight concrete girders exceeded the expected shear strength according to the 2010 AASHTO LRFD Bridge Specifications. Compared to normal weight concrete, sand-lightweight concrete performed reasonably well, and therefore, does not need a lightweight modifier when designing for shear. However, a reliability analysis of the sand-lightweight girders in this study as well as twelve previous experiments indicate that there should be two different strength reduction factors for the shear design of sand-lightweight concrete depending on which shear design procedures are used in the 2010 AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications. For the General Procedure as well as the guidelines outline in Appendix B5, the strength reduction factor should be increased from 0.70 to 1.00. For the Simplified Procedure, that factor should be 0.75.