Masters Thesis Project

Fiber Reinforced Composite Bridge Deck

My the­sis project stud­ied the fea­si­bil­i­ty of using a fiber rein­forced poly­mer bridge deck devel­oped by Strong­well of Bris­tol, TN. The deck is made from off-the-shelf struc­tur­al mem­bers from their Extren line of prod­ucts. The deck was assem­bled at their plant in Bris­tol and then shipped to the Vir­ginia Tech Struc­tures lab in Blacks­burg, VA. We have fit­ted the deck with var­i­ous instru­ments to mea­sure the effects of loads upon the deck.

You can down­load my the­sis online in Adobe .pdf for­mat at Vir­ginia Tech’s Library Web Site:

Research Photos

Lab Testing An FRP Deck Specimen.

Lab Testing An FRP Deck Specimen

This is look­ing at the end of the deck while I have the load­ing frame and actu­a­tor in place. This is load­ing the West span of the FRP deck.

Actuator Applying Load To Deck

Actuator Applying Load To Deck

Here is a clos­er look at the hydraulic actu­a­tor in place. This is load­ing the cen­ter of the West span, where­as above is load­ing the edges with a spread­er beam.

The Field Test Site

The Field Test Site

This is look­ing South on the ramp to the truck weigh sta­tion off of I‑81. The dark marks along the bed are the grout beds for the sup­port beams, which can be seen in place below.

Placing The Deck at the Field Site

Placing The Deck at the Field Site

Here is the deck being low­ered on to the sup­port beams. You can see lots of pipes and wires on this end. Those are used for test­ing the deck while in place.

Monitoring Laboratory Load Tests

Monitoring Laboratory Load Tests

A pic­ture tak­en by my co-researcher, Aixi Zhou. Dr. Zhou is cur­rent­ly research­ing com­pos­ites in Swiz­ter­land and learn­ing to ski. Mean­while, I’m still liv­ing in Vir­ginia. All the wires you can see in the fore­ground are con­nect­ed to strain gages through­out the deck, which mon­i­tor very small changes in length. By the way, isn’t odd that engi­neers spell gage with­out a “u”?

Research Links

Design­ers and Producers


Addi­tion­al Funding

Notice: The images and infor­ma­tion con­cern­ing this exper­i­men­tal project are the sole prop­er­ty of Vir­ginia Tech and are not to be used or repro­duced under any cir­cum­stances with­out the per­mis­sion of the Uni­ver­si­ty. They are post­ed here for reflec­tion and infor­ma­tive pur­pos­es only. This infor­ma­tion may not be used for com­mer­cial pur­pos­es and the Cre­ative Com­mons license which per­tains the rest of does not apply to this page.