Iowa Department of Transportation
Iowa Highway Research Board
Behrouz Shafeishafei@iastate.edu email >
Structural Engineer, BEC
Brent Pharesbphares@iastate.edu email >
Bridge Research Engineer, BEC
About the research
Prestressed concrete structures have become a popular choice for transportation infrastructure applications. According to the National Bridge Inventory, the percentage of bridges built with prestressed concrete technology has been rapidly increased from 15.0% to 23.5% over the past two decades. Specifically, precast prestressed concrete beams (PPCBs) are extensively used for bridge superstructures, owing to a number of favorable attributes, including great quality control on material and workmanship from one side, and fast, economic, and energy-efficient construction from the other side. The bridge superstructures are, however, known to be vulnerable to continuous deterioration. As a consequence, a problem commonly observed in the PPCB that supports the bridge superstructure is that the beam ends experience a faster (and more severe) deterioration compared to the rest of the beam. This is not surprising considering the fact that the beam end regions are subjected to a harsher exposure condition. To minimize serviceability issues and avoid catastrophic failures, effective maintenance and repair efforts are essential. The ultimate goal of this research project is, therefore, to develop feasible and cost-effective preservation strategies to extend the service life of the PPCB used in bridges in service.