Influence of precast concrete panel surface condition on behavior of composite bridge decks at skewed expansion joints

Donnelly, Kristen Shawn
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Following development of rectangular prestressed, precast concrete panels (PCP) that could be used as stay-in-place formwork adjacent to expansion joints in bridge decks, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) initiated a research effort to investigate the use of PCP units at skewed expansion joints. The fabrication of trapezoidal PCP units was studied and the response of skewed panels with 45° and 30° skew angles was obtained. The panels were topped with a 4 in. thick cast-in-place (CIP) slab to complete the bridge deck. Specimens with 45° skew performed well under service and overload levels. The deck failed in diagonal shear at loads well over the design level loads. However, two 30° specimens failed prematurely by delamination between the topping slab and the PCP. The cause of the delamination was insufficient shear transfer capacity between the PCP and CIP topping slab. For the specimens tested at a square end, the failure mode was punching shear at high loads for all specimens. The surface condition of the PCP was specified to have a “broom finish” and the panel was to have a saturated surface dry (SSD) condition so that PCP units would not leach moisture from the CIP topping slab. Neither of these conditions was satisfied in the two panels that failed prematurely. Although the panels were specified to have a broom finish, the panel surface had regions that were quite smooth. The objective of this research project was to reinvestigate the response of 30° PCP at an expansion joint following specified procedures for finish and moisture conditions. One specimen was constructed with a rectangular panel placed between two 30° skewed panels. These panels had a much rougher surface texture than the previously tested panels that failed in delamination. The skewed ends of the specimen were subjected to monotonically increasing static loads at midspan of the panel ends. The panels failed in diagonal shear and the response of the tested specimen confirmed that the panel surface roughness, and not the skew angle, caused delamination with the previously tested specimens. While TxDOT does not currently specify a minimum panel surface roughness, a surface roughness of approximately 1/4 in. is required in some codes for developing composite action. In addition, wetting the panels to a SSD condition prior to placement of the topping slab further enhances shear transfer between the topping slab and the PCP.