Beams; Bridges; Concrete structures; Cracking; Durability; Fabrication; Mechanical properties; Precast concrete
This project focuses on the cracking of concrete beams that has been observed at most of the large precast plants in Texas in recent years. This cracking appears approximately 18-24 months after fabrication, and the exact nature of these cracks is not clearly understood. The overarching goal of this project is to use existing cracked beams to predict whether long-term durability issues will develop. The research team is uniquely equipped to conduct this project due to the expertise of its team and the ability to leverage the efforts of this project with relevant projects underway at the Center for Transportation Research (CTR). The research team shall execute a comprehensive program consisting of non-destructive evaluations and core-based tests to determine the effect of the cracks on mechanical properties and durability. The research team shall develop a novel method to evaluate the extent to which the cracks contribute to corrosion of pre-stressing strands and conduct service life modeling to estimate the effect that the cracks have on the service life of the beams. Successful completion of this project shall result in the research team providing recommendations to Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) on the likelihood of long-term material and structural problems occurring from these cracks.