Self-Stressed Sandwich Bridge Decks

Report No: 71-R12

Published in 1971

About the report:

Proposed is an entirely new type of bridge deck, consisting of an unreinforced lightweight concrete slab made of expanding cement sandwiched between two thin plates of steel. The expanding core serves to prestress the panel. Laboratory tests were conducted on the expansion characteristics of the concrete to determine predictable relationships for expansion. Laboratory tests were also conducted on ten small-scale panels, some loaded with a concentrated load and others with a uniformly distributed load. Instrumentation was installed to measure, strains and deflections. Mathematical theories were also developed to predict both the prestressing and external load behavior of the panels. A satisfactory correlation was found between the test results and the theory. A comparative study of the proposed sandwich panels and standard reinforced concrete slabs indicated that the proposed sandwich panels are substantially stronger and stiffer than concrete slabs using the same quantity of concrete and steel. Continued development is recommended.

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.


  • William Zuk, R. S. Sinha 

Last updated: February 9, 2024

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