Alternative ABC Connections Utilizing UHPC

Link to Latest Report: Final Report


Two major questions are asked by bridge owners when specifying use of ABC in bridge projects- Durability and cost. Past experiences in bridge design, construction and maintenance indicates that one of the key elements in enhancing the service life of bridges is to eliminate “Joints” where possible. ABC projects on other hand, when prefabricated and modular elements are used; incorporate many “Joints”, questioning the durability of such bridges in long term. This thought process and belief, is strengthen by few instances where some of the details used in ABC projects has demonstrated “leaky” “joints”. As a result there is an urgent need for addressing the durability and service life of ABC projects through developing connections details that will have even have higher durability and service life.

Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC) provides an excellent opportunity to develop generic connection details for superstructure and substructure bridge elements with superior durability and service life performances. The challenges with use of UHPC, up to recent times, had been the proprietary and cost. However, very recently several development has resulted in lowering the cost and making UHPC more accessible to bridge owners at a lower cost.

Objective :
The main objective of this project is the development of connection details for ABC projects, especially when prefabricated and modular elements are used in ABC projects with emphasis on use of UHPC. More specifically, several generic ABC connection details will be identified and for the selected details, alternate UHPC connection details will be developed, having enhanced durability and service life characteristics.

The project will first involve searching the literature and identifying several areas where development of alternate ABC connection details using UHPC will significantly facilitate utilizing ABC. These details may include those shown in the connection between a prefabricated cap beam and precast columns.

FIU-2-ABC Connections with UHPC

An experimental investigation will be carried out during the development of alternate ABC connection details using UHPC for the details identified and developed during the literature search. One such detail that is being tested is shown in the figure below.

FIU-2-ABC Connections with UHPC _ Photo 2

The development of a new system will also involve a parametric study using a calibrated non-linear finite element analysis.

The partner universities, ISU and UNR will be consulted during selection of the connection for which research to be conducted in this project.

Research Team:
Principal Investigator (PI): Atorod
Research Assistants: Mohamadreza Shafieifar, Ph.D. candidate

Link to Previous Progress Reports: