Dr. Nabil GraceUnited States Department of Transportation

AASHTO beam and Multicell box beam sections are the most common types of cross-sections adopted for the construction of highway bridges due to their distinctive advantages. However, corrosion-related issues of steel strands and reinforcements need to be addressed to improve and extend the life-span and performance of AASHTO beam and side-by-side box beam bridges under harsh environmental conditions. These corrosion-related issues mandate significant increases in maintenance costs to restore the load carrying capacity of these types of bridges. Therefore, innovative materials such as carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) tendons and/or carbon fiber composite cable (CFCC) prestressing strands, CFRP/CFCC shear reinforcements, and a practical construction approach to address these issues needs to be researched for successful and practical field implementation.

To address these issues, a research investigation comprised of an experimental program and theoretical analysis is proposed. The first step of the investigation is to conduct a basic finite element analysis using available software such as ABAQUS. The finite element analysis is geared towards the determination of the performance of both types of prestressed concrete highway bridges using CFRP/CFCC tendons/strands and CFRP/CFCC reinforcements for flexure and shear. Parallel to this theoretical analysis, a detailed laboratory program entailing the evaluation of a full-scale CFRP/CFCC prestressed concrete AASHTO beam and a full-scale CFRP/CFCC prestressed concrete box-beam is conducted. Also, one-half scale bridge models (one is for a side-by-side box beam bridge type and the other is for an AASHTO beam bridge type), constructed of four precast prestressed concrete AASHTO/box beams, is constructed, instrumented and tested. The selection of the use of either CFRP or CFCC reinforcing materials for this investigation is determined by the research team.