Innovative Hybrid FRP/STEEL Splice Details for Modular Bridge Expansion Joints

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Rameshni, Ramin
Expansion Joint , Steel , Fatigue , Bridge , Adhesive , Bond , Splice Detail , Finite Element , FRP
Bridge expansion joints are directly subjected to traffic load, and thus prone to premature fatigue failure. Replacement of components such as modular bridge expansion joints is typically done in a staggered schedule to minimize traffic blockage. Field splices are used to connect the successively installed segments. These splices typically include a combination of field welding or bolting, and experience has shown that they often fail due to fatigue cracking. This thesis reports the investigation of hybrid FRP/steel splice details that avoid the use of field welding. Two configurations have been examined: A GFRP pultruded square tube section, adhesively bonded to the soffit of the spliced beam, consists the moment resisting component in one configuration, whereas the other takes advantage of two series of FRP plates for this purpose. Bolted steel plates splice the beam through web in both cases. The behaviour of these details has been studied extensively under vertical static loads. The effect of several parameters including bond length, FRP end shape, bond surface treatment, adhesive, etc. for each detail has been investigated. A three-dimensional, non-linear finite element model has been developed for each detail and validated using the experimental results. The bond strength of two adhesives was investigated experimentally using double shear lap splice tests. A new method is proposed to analyze the strength of the splice details. This method is based on the results obtained from shear lap splice tests and the verified finite element model developed for the splice detail. The finite element model could thus be used for further parametric studies. More experiments, however, are statistically required before using this model with confidence. The fatigue behaviour of one of the promising splice details has been investigated both experimentally and numerically. A special fatigue test set-up has been designed and used successfully for this purpose. Two fatigue tests to 1,000,000 cycles were run. One failed at 719, 347 cycles and the other survived 1,000,000 cycles. The predicted fatigue life as per the developed model was 871,840 cycles. More experiments are required to understand the fatigue behaviour of the splice detail under various stress ranges.
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