Design of Link Slabs: A Short Course Module

Project Information
Link to the Latest: Final Report
Final Report Coming Soon

One of common techniques in Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) is using Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems (PBES). The bridge components are built outside of the construction area, transported to the site, and then rapidly installed. This helps significantly reduce the time lost due to concrete placement, curing in the construction zone, and formwork erection/removal. Another benefit to using the PBES is the improved quality control. Damaging effects due to weather is minimized because elements are built in a controlled environment. However, there is a standing question on how the long-term performance and durability concerns associated with the joints that connect high-quality bridge elements can be addressed. One approach that has gained significant attention is to eliminate the joints through revised design strategies. While such strategies have been successfully developed for integral abutments used for ABC applications, no systematic approach is available on removing the expansion joints between bridge girders. To address this issue, the current project builds on the findings from a former ABC UTC-sponsored research project on link slabs and develops a short course module to provide the design guidelines and practical recommendations necessary to properly implement a link slab in jointless bridges.

This project benefits from the outcome of experimental tests and numerical simulations performed on link slabs at Iowa State University to explain their structural performance under various loading conditions. A design guide will be presented for the implementation of link slabs in appropriate bridges. This will cover a range of practical aspects, including crack criteria, bonding/debonding requirements, and rebar details.

This course module is envisioned to consist of the following parts, which will be developed one by one through the task listed below:

  • Task 1 – Development of course outline
  • Task 2 – An introduction to link slab
  • Task 3 – Material considerations and structural aspects
  • Task 4 – Design guidelines and practical notes
  • Task 5 – Solved example(s)

Research Team:
Principal Investigator:  Dr. Behrouz Shafei
Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Shahin Hajilar

Research Assistant: Rizwan Karim

Previous Reports: