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20 July 2004 First application of second-generation steel-free deck slabs for bridge rehabilitation
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The arching action in concrete deck slabs for girder bridges is utilized fully in steel-free deck slabs. These concrete slabs, requiring no tensile reinforcement, are confined longitudinally by making them composite with the girders, and transversely by external steel straps connecting the top flanges of external girders. Between 1995 and 1999, five steel-free deck slabs without any tensile reinforcement were cast on Canadian bridges. All these slabs developed fairly wide full-depth cracks roughly midway between the girders. While extensive fatigue testing done in the past three years has confirmed that the presence of even wide cracks does not pose any danger to the safety of the structures, wide cracks are generally not acceptable to bridge engineers. The developers of the steel-free deck slabs have now conceded that these slabs should be reinforced with a crack-control mesh of nominal glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) bars. Steel-free deck slabs with crack-control meshes are being referred as the second generation slabs. With the help of testing on full-scale models, it has been found that deck slabs with GFRP bars have the best fatigue resistance and those with steel bars the worst.
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Ruth Eden, Chad Klowak, Aftab A. Mufti, Gamil Tadros, Baidar Bakht, and Eric Loewen "First application of second-generation steel-free deck slabs for bridge rehabilitation", Proc. SPIE 5393, Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring of Aerospace Materials and Composites III, (20 July 2004);

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