Investigation of the behaviour of reinforcement-free concrete deck slabs restrained by FRP rods
This paper presents an experimental and numerical investigation of the structural behaviour of reinforcement-free concrete bridge deck slabs. In the proposed deck structure, a novel load carrying mechanism is introduced to eliminate the need for internal steel reinforcement. This mechanism is a combination utilizing arching action in deck slabs and tying supporting beams together with fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) rods. In this study, a series of one third scale deck specimens were fabricated and tested up to failure with varying several structural parameters, including supporting beam sizes, type of edge beams and spacing of FRP restraint rods. The failure mode of concrete deck slabs under concentrated wheel loads was expected to be punching failure and arching action inside this type of laterally restrained concrete deck slab had a significant effect on the ultimate behaviour. After the comparison of the test results, the influences of these structural variables and arching action on the behaviour were evaluated. Subsequently, a nonlinear finite element analysis (NLFEA) model was proposed to develop further study. The numerical results showed good agreement with the test results. A parametric study using this finite element model was performed to investigate the factors affecting the ultimate capacity and failure mechanism of this type of reinforcement-free bridge deck. The test results and finite element analyses are discussed and conclusions are presented.