Evaluation of bridge deck sealers.
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Evaluation of bridge deck sealers.

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  • Abstract:
    This study focuses on the evaluation of bridge deck sealers commonly used on highway bridge decks and

    their relative performance. After reviewing the most up-to-date research findings on chemical sealers used

    by state DOTs, four sealer products that could potentially be used by the Colorado Department of

    Transportation (CDOT) were selected for evaluation. High molecular weight methacrylate (HMWM), two

    epoxies, and a silane were assessed for their skid resistance and ability to block or slow down moisture and

    chloride ion penetration into concrete bridge decks. Bridge structure E-17-QM (westbound US 36 to I-270

    over I-25) was selected for the field study. The four sealers were installed on the deck surface of Bridge E-

    17-QM by professional contractors on 06/02/2010. Skid resistance, temperature variation, moisture

    fluctuation, and chloride concentration profiles in concrete were selected as the four experimental

    parameters for evaluating the performance of the four sealers. Eighteen integrated sensors were installed

    in the bridge decks in the five testing sections and at different depths for monitoring the internal

    temperature and relative humidity distributions in concrete. Concrete cores were taken at four periods

    during the project to test for chloride concentration profiles. The British Pendulum Tester (BPT) was used

    to measure the skid resistance of the concrete surface with and without sealers. From the analysis and

    comparisons of the test data, the performances of the four sealers were ranked in terms of the four

    experimental parameters.


    Without further long-term data, the use of sealers is recommended as a viable short-term protection

    system. If CDOT chooses to use a long-term bridge deck sealing system, HMWM is recommended over

    the other sealers. Eligible bridge decks should be selected based on the assessment of percent deck

    deterioration, estimated time to corrosion, deck surface condition, and concrete quality.

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