American Society of Civil Engineers

Performance Evaluation of FRP Composite Deck Considering for Local Deformation Effects

by P. K. Majumdar, (Research Assistant, Dept. of Engineering Science and Mechanics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061. E-mail:, Z. Liu, (Project engineer, MMM group, Calgary, AL, Canada T2H 2X6. E-mail:, J. J. Lesko, (Professor, Dept. of Engineering Science and Mechanics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061. E-mail:, and T. E. Cousins, (Professor, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061. E-mail:

Journal of Composites for Construction, Vol. 13, No. 4, July/August 2009, pp. 332-338, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: We examine here the replacement of a deteriorated concrete deck in the historic Hawthorne Street Bridge in Covington, Va. with a lightweight fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) deck system (adhesively bonded pultruded tube and plate assembly) to increase the load rating of the bridge. To explore construction feasibility, serviceability, and durability of the proposed deck system, a two-bay section (9.45 by 6.7 m) of the bridge has been constructed and tested under different probable loading scenarios. Experimental results show that the response of the deck is linear elastic with no evidence of deterioration at service load level (HS-20). From global behavior of the bridge superstructure (experimental data and finite- element analysis), degree of composite action, and load distribution factors are determined. The lowest failure load (93.6 kips or 418.1 kN) is about 4.5 times the design load (21.3 kips or 94 kN), including dynamic allowance at HS-20. The failure mode is consistent in all loading conditions and observed to be localized under the loading patch at the top plate and top flange of the tube. In addition to global performance, local deformation behavior is also investigated using finite-element simulation. Local analysis suggests that local effects are significant and should be incorporated in design criteria. Based on parametric studies on geometric (thickness of deck components) and material variables (the degree of orthotropy in pultruded tube), a proposed framework for the sizing and material selection of cellular FRP decks is presented for future development of design guidelines for composite deck structures.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Fiber reinforced polymer
Bridge decks
Finite element method
Full-scale tests
Failure modes
Composite structures
Historic sites