Structural Stiffness Identification of Bridge Superstructures: Final Report

Report No: 96-R26

Published in 1996

About the report:

Accurate measures of bridge stiffness are important when determining structural integrity. This information should be an integral part of any comprehensive bridge maintenance program, especially considering the nation's aging infrastructure. Informed decisions regarding the placement or repair of an existing bridge require knowledge of the in-situ structural state. Although static and dynamic field tests can provide accurate measures of in-situ stiffness, the instrumentation necessary to conduct such tests is time consuming and labor intensive. A need exists for an accurate, cost-effective, and time-efficient method of measuring aggregate bridge stiffness. The falling weight deflectometer (FWD) is an instrument that may provide accurate measures of aggregate bridge stiffness in a timely fashion. The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility of using the FWD to measure bridge stiffness. Aggregate bridge stiffness in two bridges was measured using the FWD. These stiffness values were compared to values obtained from finite element models. A static field test was conducted on one of the bridges, and the stiffness values obtained were compared with the FWD results. The FWD has the potential to be an effective tool for measuring structural stiffness in certain circumstances and may be capable of providing bridge engineers with crucial information in a timely, cost-efficient fashion. Further calibration of the FWD is necessary before it can be used in a comprehensive bridge maintenance program.

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.

Authors

Other Authors

Peter W. Hoadley, Jose P. Gomez, Ph.D., P.E.

Last updated: December 17, 2023

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