Experimental and Analytical Evaluation of an Aluminum Deck Bridge

Report No: 00-R10

Published in 1999

About the report:

In response to a growing number of deteriorated and obsolete highway bridge decks, the Reynolds Metal Company has developed a multi-voided aluminum bridge deck system. The Virginia Department of Transportation agreed to implement the new aluminum deck system in a demonstration project. The Reynolds deck was employed to rehabilitate a functionally obsolete Route 58 highway bridge that spanned the Little Buffalo Creek near Clarksville, Virginia. Because the Virginia Department of Transportation considered the project as experimental, the Virginia Transportation Research Council implemented a study to evaluate the structural performance and serviceability of the Reynolds system. This study involved both experimental and analytical evaluations of the rehabilitated Route 58 Bridge. The Virginia Transportation Research Council performed two field tests to evaluate bridge response. Instrumentation, consisting of various gages and transducers, measured deck and girder displacements, strains, and accelerations during controlled static and dynamic vehicular load tests. Analytical evaluations were performed with the commercial, general-purpose finite element code ABAQUS. Three-dimensional finite element models were developed to predict the overall structural response of the Route 58 Bridge. Model accuracy was verified by using response data acquired from field testing. Girder displacements, uniaxial deck strains, longitudinal normal girder strains, and natural frequencies of vibration were predicted with reasonable accuracy. The validated finite element models of the structure were utilized to perform evaluations of the aluminum deck and steel girder response, composite action, natural frequencies of vibration, and mode shapes. Results from this study clearly demonstrate that aluminum bridge decks are a feasible alternative to reinforced concrete decks from the standpoint of strength and serviceability.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Paul C. Misch, Peter J. Massarelli, Furman W. Barton, Ph.D., Jose P. Gomez, Ph.D., P.E., Wallace T. McKeel, Jr., P.E.

Last updated: December 11, 2023

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