Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Civil Engineering

Major Professor

Rajan Sen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gray Mullins, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ashraf Ayoub, Ph.D.


Concrete Cracks, Differential Shrinkage, Shear Fatigue, Forensic Study, Finite Element Analysis


During the late 70's and early 80's, several precast deck panel bridges were constructed in Florida. These utilize prestressed precast panels as stay-in-place forms and are designed to act compositely with a cast-in-place deck which is poured subsequently. Such bridges offer advantages of quicker construction and lower costs. However, several such bridges built in Florida developed extensive cracking and spalling. Following localized failures, the Florida Department of Transportation has decided to replace all 127 precast panel deck bridges in Districts 1 and 7. Since deck replacement is contingent on funding, it is necessary to develop a rational procedure to decide the order in which they are replaced. This requires a better understanding of the deterioration process and failure mechanism in such bridge decks. The methodology used in this study was to first analyze in detail 5 cases of sudden localized deck failures to identify the causes of the failures and any common factors in the failed bridges. Also, forensic studies were conducted on eight bridges scheduled for deck replacements during 2003 and 2004. In these studies it was possible to investigate in detail the condition of the deck at different stages of deterioration. Based on the information collected, a deck failure model was developed.