Structural assessment of bridge piers with damage similar to alkali silica reaction and/or delayed ettringite formation
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In recent years, it has been discovered that some structural elements of the I-10 and I-35 corridor passing through San Antonio, Texas (San Antonio Y) are suffering from premature concrete deterioration related to alkali-silica reaction (ASR) and/or delayed ettringite formation (DEF). While there is considerable evidence of materials related distress, the degree of damage to structural capacity has not been quantified. In a comprehensive search of literature, very little research has been identified that quantifies the amount of structural damage caused by ASR and/or DEF on the load carrying capacity of structural piers. Due to the fact that this integral stretch of interstate highway sees a large volume of traffic, it is desirable to determine a method of assessing the degree of structural damage, and the necessity of taking remedial actions. The purpose of this thesis is to develop an assessment methodology which can be used by The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to evaluate the current and future integrity of structural elements in the San Antonio Y. The key steps included in the methodology are conducting a literature review on the effects of ASR and/or DEF on the structural properties of reinforced concrete, evaluating in-situ engineering properties of existing concrete, investigating the basis for the original design, and performing an experimental investigation to determine the effect of cracking on the load carrying capacity of typical SAY piers. This thesis presents the findings from this research.