NDT Methods Applicable to Health Monitoring of ABC Closure Joints
Conference: Publication Date: 26 March 2018
Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) promises to reduce on-site construction time and mobility impact in bridge construction and rehabilitation projects by the use of special design and construction methods. Generally, it uses precast elements of the bridge fabricated on site or away, moved to the bridge location and installed in place. The prefabricated elements are then made continuous using cast-in-place joints. Deck joints are normally referred to as “Closure Joints.” The quality of the joints, expected to become serviceable quickly, depends on the concrete mix design, reinforcement and enclosure details, and is influenced by placement and curing procedure. Concerns has been raised about long-term durability of these joints. Normally, they contain reinforcing bars and enclosures of various shapes that in some cases create congestion within the joint. To provide shear connectivity, some of these joints are designed with cavities within the precast elements. In all, the specific nature of the joint application, in-situ casting, curing, material incompatibility, cold joints, cavities and steel congestion contribute to create potential for leaving defects and anomalies in the closure joints. This, in turn, results in a higher potential for exposure and other detrimental effects with possible degradation in time, and therefore reducing the strength and serviceability of the joint and the structure. The long-term deflections and environmental loading will only exacerbate the situation.
Hence, evaluation and health monitoring of the closure joints becomes inevitable. A variety of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) methods have been utilized for evaluation and structural health monitoring of bridges including those with closure joints. However, a concerted attempt for categorization of these methods, comparison of capabilities, and selection of methods most applicable to closure joints is lacking. As a part of the ABC-UTC program at the Florida International University, a comprehensive study is being undertaken to (a) investigate and identify the defects and problems associated with closure joints, (b) review and evaluation of available NDT methods for applicability to closure joints, and (c) finally selection and verification of the most promising methods. This paper summarizes the results of the ongoing study to date that includes parts (a) and (b) in the overall scope of the project.
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