Fatmir Menkulasi, Thomas Cousins, and C.L. Roberts-Wollmann
Virginia Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration
precast inverted T-beams with a cast-in-place concrete topping
The inverted T-beam superstructure is a bridge system that provides an accelerated construction alternative for short-to medium-span bridges. The system consists of adjacent precast inverted T-beams with a cast-in-place concrete topping. This bridge system is expected to not experience the reflective cracking problems manifested in short-to-medium-span bridges constructed with traditional adjacent voided slab or adjacent box beams. This report presents the results of three phases of a comprehensive research project to develop and implement an inverted T-beam system for Virginia. The three phases are: investigation of time-dependent and temperature effects, investigation of end zone stresses, and live load testing. The first investigation is of time-dependent effects in composite bridges with precast inverted T-beams. The analysis was performed for a two-span continuous bridge. An analytical study was performed to quantify the stresses generated as a result of differential shrinkage, creep and temperature gradient at various sections in both directions. At the cross-sectional level, an elastic sectional analysis approach using the age-adjusted effective modulus method was used to perform the investigation. At the structure level, the effects of uniform temperature changes, thermal gradients and differential shrinkage and creep were investigated and quantified in terms of axial restraint forces and restraint moments. It is shown that, by paying attention to detailing and by selecting a mix design for the cast-in-place topping that has relatively low shrinkage and high creep, the potential for excessive cracking can be reduced. The second investigation is of the stresses in the end zones of such a uniquely shaped precast element. The transfer of prestressing force creates vertical and horizontal tensile stresses in the end zones of the beam. A series of three-dimensional (3D) finite element analyses were performed to investigate the magnitude of these tensile stresses.