Ultra-high performance concrete is in a relatively new class of cementitious materials. These concretes demonstrate good durability properties, high compressive strength, and usable tensile resistance. The high compressive and useable tensile resistance can lead to smaller and more efficient precast cross sections. Smaller precast cross sections result in lower member self weights, which in turn can allow for easier transportation, longer span or shallower depth superstructures, and reduced foundation requirements. The durability properties of ultra-high performance concrete specifically lend themselves toward use in the most environmentally stressed portions of the Nation's bridge inventory, namely the decks. The advanced properties of ultra-high performance concrete allow for the development of new structural systems. This research project focuses on the development of a precast full-depth bridge deck component that can be used both in new construction as well as in the redecking of existing bridges. A two-way ribbed slab system shows promise when combined with the properties of ultra-high performance concrete. As compared to standard cast-in-place concrete bridge decks, this system can be lighter in weight, develop composite action from built-in pockets, utilize the durability properties of ultra-high performance concrete while decreasing the volume of required material, and efficiently use the ultra-high performance concrete tensile and compressive resistances. The project includes component development, outreach efforts to initiate first deployment, and practical and analytical efforts to support deployment(s).
The key project objective is to assist stakeholders by developing a new means for the accelerated redecking of bridge structures with an extremely durable and robust system. This is to be accomplished by developing a practical optimized ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) bridge deck element, and then working with appropriate stakeholders to begin deploying the technology.