Field Instrumentation and Monitoring of Kansas Department of Transportation Fiber Composite Bridge for Long Term Behavior Assessment
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Field Instrumentation and Monitoring of Kansas Department of Transportation Fiber Composite Bridge for Long Term Behavior Assessment

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    Final Report
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    This paper discusses results from an analytical study concerning the long-term evaluation of two fiber-reinforced polymer composite bridges in Kansas. A background on current nondestructive evaluation methodologies for monitoring structural systems and typical sensors that are used with nondestructive evaluation techniques is discussed. The results of the finite element models of the bridges are presented. A procedure for selecting and installing appropriate systems for nondestructive evaluation of the fiber-reinforced polymer composite bridges is described. The purpose of this paper is to address specific questions proposed by the Kansas Department of Transportation regarding the performance of fiber-reinforced polymer composite decks installed in the fall of 1999 on two existing bridges, and to identify possible long-term performance problems. The main objectives are: to determine if composite action develops between the fiber-reinforced polymer composite deck, saddle and steel girder, and, if composite action does develop, estimate the improved capacity of the bridge; to determine if vibration of the bridge may lead to structural deterioration; and to evaluate the effectiveness of the bolted connections. The data collected from the nondestructive testing on the bridge suggests that composite action may not exist. The dissipation of energy recorded using accelerometers demonstrates that the fiber-reinforced polymer composite deck and steel girder behave independently. However, studies using finite element analyses show that composite action can develop if bonded. There is excessive vibration within the fiber-reinforced polymer deck. The results of nondestructive testing performed on one bridge showed that the deck dissipates energy in a wide frequency range. This type of energy dissipation is typically a result of excessive vibration and excitation. This is a concern and further investigation is recommended. From the finite element analyses, the stress levels under normal traffic loading are not a concern. However, the combination of loads due to thermal differential and induced vibration due to heavy trucks can produce large stresses within the bolted connections that may lead to material fatigue.
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