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Civil-Comp Proceedings
ISSN 1759-3433
CCP: 83
Edited by: B.H.V. Topping, G. Montero and R. Montenegro
Paper 138

A Pultruded GFRP Bridge Deck-to-Girder Connection System

K.T. Park, Y.K. Hwang, Y.H. Lee and J. Jeong

Structure Research Deptartment, Korea Institute of Construction Technology, Goyang, South Korea

Full Bibliographic Reference for this paper
K.T. Park, Y.K. Hwang, Y.H. Lee, J. Jeong, "A Pultruded GFRP Bridge Deck-to-Girder Connection System", in B.H.V. Topping, G. Montero, R. Montenegro, (Editors), "Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Computational Structures Technology", Civil-Comp Press, Stirlingshire, UK, Paper 138, 2006. doi:10.4203/ccp.83.138
Keywords: glass fibre, connection, bridge deck, static test, composite action, deck-coupling device.

Compared to concrete and steel that have been applied as the material of the bridge deck so far, FRP material has the advantage of being both light weight and corrosion resistant. Because of these factors, Busel [1] announced that active studies have been undertaken on the development and application of the GFRP deck mainly in the USA and Canada since the middle of 1990s. As the GFRP deck has generally a hollow section in a transverse direction of the bridge axis, which is different with the deck that is fabricated with concrete or steel, an effective GFRP deck-to-girder connection system is required to maximize the effectiveness and applicability of the GFRP deck. Such systems have been adopted to connect GFRP deck and girder worldwide as a connection system using shear connectors by DARPA [2] and Moon [3], and a mechanical connection system including the system using bolts by Christopher [4] or clamps by Zhao [5], etc.

Jeniffer [6] proposed a device that can be used to connect the FRP deck and steel girder, using the shear connector that is installed at the filler and steel girder by welding. In addition to these, there have been recently studies on the systems to connect the GFRP deck and steel girder using a bonding agent by Keller [7].

This paper presents a new connection system different from the traditional GFRP deck-to-girder connection systems. To look for the structural performance of the proposed connection system, it is compared to the mechanical connection system by the testing.

The connection system of GFRP deck and girder proposed in this paper is targeting at the profile of the GFRP deck section that has been already announced by Park et al. [8]. And the thickness of the steel-coupling device per member is applied as 10mm, which is a minimum thickness of roads where partial working load is applied as the main girder, as specified in the regulation that is applied to the steel deck plate in Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges in Korea [9]. The results of this paper are as follows:

  1. To improve the composite level between the GFRP deck and girder, a new GFRP deck-to-girder connection system was proposed, which is comprised of coupling device made of steel, transverse stiffening reinforcement, existing shear connector, internal blocking device and filler, etc.
  2. To compare the performance of the proposed connection system and the bolt connection system, the flexural rigidity and final failure load were calculated. The flexural rigidity is 4.6% higher at the proposed connection system, that is, not much difference at all. And the failure load of the bolt connection system is 16% higher. However, both connection systems had buckling failure on the web, accordingly it is considered that the failure load of the actual connection system will occur above the failure load level of the GFRP deck, which is extracted from this test.
  3. In case of the proposed connection system, the working process is complicated in comparison to other connection systems, but the steel-coupling device of this connection system can be integrated with the girder, so it can be applied effectively for the case where the load resistance of a bridge is required to improve.

J.P. Busel. "Product Selection Guide: FRP Composite Products for Bridge Applications", MDA (Market Development Alliance of the FRP Composites Industry), NY, U.S.A., 2000.
DARPA. "Advanced Composites for Bridge Infrastructure Renewal-Phase II. Final Report", Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Department of Defense, U.S.A., 2000.
F.L. Moon II. "Large-Scale Experimental Validation of an All-Composite Bridge Deck and Deck Connections", PhD Thesis, University of Delaware, U.S.A., 2000.
J.W. Christopher. "Determination of the Design Parameters for the Route 601 Bridge: A Bridge Containing the Strongwell 36 in. Hybrid Composite Double Web Beam", MS Thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, U.S.A., 2000.
L. Zhao. "Characterization of Deck-to-Girder Connections in FRP Composite Superstructures", PhD Dissertation, University of California, San Diego, U.S.A., 1999.
R. Jennifer. "Development of an Innovative Connection for FRP Bridge Decks to Steel Girders", MS Thesis, West Virginia University, U.S.A., 2002.
T. Keller, H. Gurter and A. Zhou. "Performance of Adhesively Bonded FRP Deck and Steel Bridge Girders", ACMBS-IV, Canada, Calgary, 20-23 July 2004.
K.T. Park, S.H. Kim, Y.H. Lee and Y.K. Hwang. "Pilot Test on a Developed GFRP Bridge Deck", Journal of Composite Structures, 2004; 70(1): 48-59. doi:10.1016/j.compstruct.2004.08.011
Ministry of Construction and Transportation (MOCT). "Standards specifications for highway bridges (in Korean)", Korea., 2005.

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