Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Amir Mirmiran

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Irtishad U. Ahmad

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Ton-Lo Wang

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Arindam Gan Chowdhury

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Lightweight bridge decks, Ultra high performance concrete (UHPC), Concrete, Carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP), Accelerated pavement testing, dynamic impact, High strength Steel (HSS)

Date of Defense



At an average age of 42 years, 10% of the nation’s over 607,000 bridges are posted for load restrictions, with an additional 15% considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. While there are major concerns with decks in 75% of structurally deficient bridges, often weight and geometry of the deck further limit the load rating and functionality of the bridge. Traditional deck systems and construction methods usually lead to prolonged periods of traffic delays, limiting options for transportation agencies to replace or widen a bridge, especially in urban areas.

The purpose of this study was to develop a new generation of ultra-lightweight super shallow solid deck systems to replace open grid steel decks on movable bridges and as well serve as a viable alternative in bridge deck replacements across the country. The study has led to a lightweight low-profile asymmetric waffle deck made with advanced materials. The asymmetry comes from the arrangement of primary and secondary ribs, respectively perpendicular and parallel to the direction of traffic. The waffle deck is made with ultrahigh performance concrete (UHPC) reinforced with either high-strength steel (HSS) or carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) reinforcement. With this combination, the deck weight was limited to below 21 psf and its overall depth to only 4 inch, while still meeting the strength and ductility demands for 4 ft. typical stringer spacing. It was further envisioned that the ultra-high strength of UHPC is best matched with the high strength of HSS or CFRP reinforcement for an efficient system and the ductile behavior of UHPC can help mask the linear elastic response of CFRP reinforcement and result in an overall ductile system. The issues of consideration from the design and constructability perspectives have included strength and stiffness, bond and development length for the reinforcement, punching shear and panel action. A series of experiments were conducted to help address these issues. Additionally full-size panels were made for testing under heavy vehicle simulator (HVS) at the accelerated pavement testing (APT) facility in Gainesville. Detailed finite element analyses were also carried out to help guide the design of this new generation of bridge decks. The research has confirmed the superior performance of the new deck system and its feasibility.



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