Analytical and Experimental Evaluation of an Aluminum Bridge Deck Panel.

Report No: 00-R5

Published in 1999

About the report:

Aluminum bridge decks may prove to be an alternative to concrete decks for improving the performance of structural bridge systems. Combining excellent corrosion resistance with extremely low density, aluminum decks can prolong surface life, facilitate the construction process, and expand rehabilitation capabilities. Reynolds Metals Company (Reynolds) has invested considerable resources to develop a proprietary aluminum deck system. The Virginia Department of Transportation agreed to employ the Reynolds' deck system in two projects. Using Federal Highway Administration sponsorship, the Virginia Transportation Research Council initiated a study to evaluate the aluminum deck system. The first phase of this project analyzed the static response of a 2.74 m x 3.66 m (9 ft x 12 ft) deck panel. Both service-load and ultimate-load tests were performed on the panel at the Turner-Fairbank Structural Laboratory in the fall of 1996. The experimental and analytical evaluation of the ultimate load static tests is the subject of this report. The failure load and failure mechanism were predicted with great accuracy. The model data predicted panel failure at a load of 911.89 kN (205 kips) by yielding under the load patch, whereas failure during the laboratory test occurred at a load of 872.07 kN (196.05 kips) by gross yielding underneath the load patch.

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.


  • Jeffrey M. Dobmeier, 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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