Testing and evaluation of components for a composite bridge deck

Prakash Kumar, K. Chandrashekhara, Antonio Nanni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In this paper the results of an experimental investigation conducted on 76 mm (3 in) square hollow pultruded glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) tubes and their assemblies have been discussed. These GFRP tubes are used in the fabrication of an all-composite bridge deck that is designed for H-20 truckloads as specified by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The study is principally focused on the experimental characterization of flexure performance under static loading of pultruded GFRP tubes made of unidirectional glass fibers. Several tests were conducted on single GFRP tubes followed by combinations of two tubes and a four-layered tube assembly. The tubes were bonded together using epoxy adhesive to build the assembly. The specimen details, experimental setup and instrumentation, testing procedure, failure modes and the test results of these experiments have been discussed in detail. A preliminary design model of each test coupon was developed and analyzed using Finite Element Analysis (FEA). Experiments were conducted to corroborate the analytical design model. Comparison between the theoretical and experimental results showed good correlation. Experimental results show excellent linear elastic flexural and shear behavior up to failure. The stiffness of the tubes and their assemblies demonstrate that they can be used in the building of all-composite bridge decks and for other infrastructure applications. Failure modes for the samples under static flexural loads are described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-461
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 7 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Bridge deck
  • Composite
  • Finite element analysis (FEA)
  • Glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP)
  • Pultrusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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