Performance evaluation of continuity connections for use in modular construction

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Putz, Andrew
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Brent M. Phares
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Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

With the growing concern of our nation’s aging infrastructure, several new ideas and concepts are being developed and implemented throughout several state departments. These turnkey innovative designs are being introduced into a rapid renewal technique called Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC). ABC was developed under the Second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2), which targeted strategic solutions to improve several aspects of transportation including, safety, congestion, and renewal methods for roads and bridges. Prefabricated bridge elements and systems (PBES) is one technique often associated with ABC. It incorporates the use of prebuilt modules, which include part of the girder system and a portion of the bridge deck. One of the most critical components in a modular system are the closure pours required to connect each prefabricated module. High performance materials (HPM) such as Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC) are often being used for the longitudinal connections today. The transverse closure joints are used over the piers and connect each adjacent module. In this particular study, a steel compression block was placed on the piers and positioned tightly between the two adjacent modules to attempt to reduce the compressive forces that were transferred through the diaphragm.

To assess the performance of the longitudinal and transverse joint details that were designed for use on a demonstration bridge, several specimens were constructed with a replica of the joint detail and ran through a series of lab tests to determine the strength and constructability. There were also specimens designed and constructed as a standard cast-in-place bridge deck that served as a baseline for comparison purposes. It was proven that the performance of the longitudinal joint detail was very consistent to the continuity that is provided by a monolithic slab. Two different materials were tested for use as the longitudinal joint material, Ductal UHPC and Korean UHPC. Both materials had comparable results throughout testing. As for the transverse joints, the inclusion of the steel compression block showed to effectively alter the performance as the specimen was able to withstand a larger moment prior to ultimate failure.

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Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2016