Development of User-friendly Tools and Decision-making Algorithms for Service Life Design of ABC Bridges

Prefabrication of structural elements is the essence of the accelerated construction, which allows for reduction of contract time, tight quality control of materials, rapid production, and good schedule control. However, the connectivity of the precast concrete elements to the rest of the bridge superstructure is of concern in ABC. Using prefabricated deck panels is one of the most popular ABC methods. Prefabricated deck elements are connected by cast-in-place closure joints onsite. The performance of the closure joints under service loads is critical since it affects the structural integrity and durability of the structure. There are several design methods available in the literature which are proof tested and approved by bridge community. The state-of-the art of closure joints design methods for service life and durability are synthesized in a recent publication by ABC-UTC.
The published guide is comprehensive; however, it is not user friendly for bridge engineers and state DOTs to be used and implemented in their design. Therefore, a reliable decision support tool is required to assist stakeholders and engineers in choosing appropriate design options and solutions. We will address this gap and develop a prototype web-based tool and decision-making algorithms to design closure joints for service life and durability.

The primary objective of the project is to design and implement a prototype web-based decision support tool based on the general steps presented in the ABC-UTC design guide. It will be visual and allow users to easily navigate through the design options, design steps, on-site requirements, material properties, and modes of failures.

This project focuses on the development of a prototype web-based tool and decision-making algorithms to design closure joints for service life and durability. Four main tasks are identified to accomplish the proposed objectives.
• Task 1 – Architecture Design. The technical infrastructure is based on two components: the CLIENT representing the terminal for the user via a web browser, and the SERVER hosted by the FIU. We will utilize FIU IT equipment and server for simplifying the process of expanding computing resources and deploying the tool.
• Task 2 – Content/Information Flow Identification, Algorithms and Analytics, Dashboard Design. We will design UML use case diagrams, based on the published ABC-UTC Guide for service life design of longitudinal deck closure joints, to define interactive questions, systems functionalities, and required underlying decision algorithms.
• Task 3 – Prototype Implementation. The web-based GUIs, data input panels with sliders for easy parameters input, decision algorithms including trade-off analysis for different design alternatives, and visualization steps will be implemented.
• Task 4 – Final Report. A report will be submitted to provide instructions for the web-based tool and future usability testing to improve the tool’s functionality.

Research Team:
Principal Investigator: Dr. Shima Mohebbi
Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Royce Floyd
Research Assistants: TBD