Joint Removal Implications – Thermal Analysis and Life-Cycle Cost

Deck joints are causing significant bridge deterioration and maintenance problems for Departments of Transportation (DOTs). Colorado State University researchers partnered with the Colorado DOT to analyze the effects of temperature change and thermal gradients on deck joint movement and provide recommendations regarding deck joint elimination. Typical steel and concrete bridges were instrumented along the expansion joint and continuous data was collected for four months. In addition, numerical finite element models and life cycle cost analysis were conducted to evaluate the potential for joint elimination. The data indicates that temperature shifts and thermal gradients through the depth of the girders along the joint are impacting the bridge’s movements and causing changes in stress. A strong parallel is shown between the temperature changes and the study joint’s movement and changes in stresses in the girders. Despite being clogged, the joints showed some movements, which corresponded to specific level of stresses in the adjacent girders, which was higher in the steel girders than the concrete girders. The finite element results showed that a reduction in moment demand on the superstructure is not apparent until a full-moment connection is utilized as a joint replacement. The parametric study and data analysis of thermal gradients highlighted the need for further research on thermal gradients experienced by bridges. Finally, using the life cycle cost analysis, it was concluded that elimination of joints would be the most cost-effective approach for minimizing the total life cycle cost of the bridges. The modeling approach outlined in this study and the life cycle cost analysis framework can be applied to any bridge and be used by CDOT to determine the viability of joint elimination for any bridge in CO.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Maps; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 209p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01671294
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: CDOT-2018-XX, CDOT-2018-12
  • Created Date: Apr 12 2018 8:26AM