Bridge decks are the most critical element of the highway infrastructure for maintaining it in the state of good repair.
An innovative layered steel deck system, steel sandwich plate (SSP) deck, is being developed under this project for application to highway bridge structures, both existing and new. The deck consists of a corrugated core enclosed by plates. The envisioned deck system has several advantages: lightweight, prefabricated/modular, hermitically sealed, enables accelerated construction and life-cycle cost-effective. The research aims at optimizing the design for material use; evaluating Hybrid Laser Arc Welding for fabrication; establishing an efficient fabrication process for production; developing alternative connection details for integrating the deck to supporting floor framing of varying configuration; and demonstrating the structural performance in laboratory on simulated full scale bridge structure. It is envisaged that the proposed SSP deck will usher a paradigm shift in design and construction of bridge decks for transportation structures in the United States.
The research has two major components: (1) a computational study employing 3D Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of stresses for optimizing design; and (2) experimental evaluation of a prototype full size deck in the laboratory including both both static and fatigue testing. There are opportunities for one or two student(s) to work on both areas of research. Depending on the interest of the student, the research work can be continued during the academic year 2022-23.
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