Title page for ETD etd-07092007-141919

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Liu, Zihong
Author's Email Address lzh@vt.edu
URN etd-07092007-141919
Title Testing and Analysis of a Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Bridge Deck
Degree PhD
Department Civil Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Cousins, Thomas E. Committee Chair
Lesko, John J. Committee Co-Chair
Plaut, Raymond H. Committee Member
Roberts-Wollmann, Carin L. Committee Member
Sotelino, Elisa D. Committee Member
  • finite element
  • rehabilitation
  • bridge deck
  • structure
  • pultrusion
  • Fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP)
  • composite
Date of Defense 2007-06-27
Availability unrestricted
A fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composite cellular deck system was used to rehabilitate a historical cast iron thru-truss structure (Hawthorne St. Bridge in Covington, Virginia). This research seeks to address following technical needs and questions to advance FRP deck application.

The critical panel-to-panel connections were developed and evolved through a four-stage study and finally realized using full width, adhesively bonded tongue and groove splices with scarfed edges. Extensive experimental study under service, strength and fatigue loads in a full-scale two-bay mock-up test and a field test was performed. Test results showed that no crack initiated in the joints under service load and no significant change in stiffness or strength of the joint occurred after 3,000,000 cycles of fatigue loading. Various issues related to constructability of FRP deck systems were investigated and construction guidelines and installation procedures for the deck system were established.

The structural performance of the FRP-on-steel-superstructure system was examined in the laboratory and field under service load. Tests results confirmed the following findings: (1) the clip-type of panel-to-stringer connection provides little composite action as expected, which fulfilled the design intention; (2) local effects play an important role in the performance of FRP deck; (3) the FRP deck design is stiffness driven rather than strength driven like traditional concrete deck.

Finally, an FEM parametric study was conducted to examine two important design issues concerning the FRP decks, namely deck relative deflection and LDF of supporting steel girders. Results from both FEM and experiments show that the strip method specified in AASHTO LRFD specification (AASHTO 2004) as an approximate method of analysis can also be applied to unconventional FRP decks as a practical method. However, different strip width equations have to be determined by either FEM or experimental methods for different types of FRP decks. In this study, one such an equation has been derived for the Strongwell deck. In addition, the AASHTO LDF equations for glued laminated timber decks on steel stringers provide good estimations of LDFs for FRP-deck-on-steel-girder bridges. The lever rule can be used as an appropriately conservative design method to predict the LDFs of FRP-deck-on-steel-girder bridges.

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