The Performance and Behavior of Deck-to-Girder Connections for the Sandwich Plate System (SPS) in Bridge Deck Applications

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Virginia Tech

An innovative approach to possible construction or rehabilitation of bridge decks can be found in a bridge construction system called the Sandwich Plate System (SPS). The technology developed and patented by Intelligent Engineering Canada Limited in conjunction with an industry partner, Elastogran GmbH, a member of BASF, may be an effective alternative to traditional bridge rehabilitation techniques.

Although the system's behavior has been studied the connection of the SPS deck to the supporting girders has not been investigated. Two types of connection are presented in this research. The use of a bent plate welded to the SPS deck and subsequently bolted to the supporting girder utilizing slip-critical connections has been utilized in the construction of a SPS bridge. A proposed SPS bridge system utilizes the top flange of the supporting girder welded directly to the SPS deck as the deck-to-girder connection.

The fatigue performance of a deck-to-girder connection utilizing a bent plate welded to the deck and bolted to the supporting girder using slip-critical connections was tested in the Virginia Tech Materials and Structures Laboratory. The testing concluded that the fatigue performance of the welded and bolted bent plate connection was limited by the weld details and no slip occurred in the slip-critical connections. Finite element modeling of the two types of deck-to-girder connections was also used to determine influence of the connections on the local and global behavior of a SPS bridge system. A comparison of the different connection details showed that the connection utilizing the flange welded directly to the SPS deck significantly reduces the stresses at location of the welds in the connections, but the connection type has a limited influence on the global behavior of a SPS bridge.

Weld Stress, Lateral Load Distribution, Sandwich Plate System, Fatigue, Slip-Critical Connection, Composite Bridge Decks