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Lehigh University logo
Lehigh University logo

Juan Tzoc Jr.

Cost-effective Highway Bridge Deck for 100 Year Service Life

Departments: Civil Engineering
Advisor: Sougata Roy

The objective of this research is to evaluate a cost-effective steel orthotropic bridge deck for 100 years’ service life. Deterioration over time due to repeated loading from passing vehicles, weather elements, and road salts, is the primary challenge of maintaining highway bridge infrastructure in the United States. The commonly used concrete decks are particularly susceptible to corrosion, and as a result there is a constant need to replace them causing many traffic delays. A steel orthotropic bridge deck, however, can provide a service life of 100 years with minimal maintenance. This bridge deck is also lightweight and therefore can be prefabricated allowing for quick and easy installation or replacement. The steel orthotropic bridge deck is comprised of a deck plate that is stiffened by closely spaced ribs in one direction and spaced beams in the other direction. The deck plate acts as a flange for all the stiffening elements, introducing structural efficiency. The deck is fabricated by welding all the components. The main concern with orthotropic bridge decks is fatigue cracking from various welded connections under repeated loading from vehicular traffic. A bridge deck was designed to manage the stresses and provide 100 years’ service life, which was verified by experimental fatigue testing on a prototype. The results were also compared to finite element analysis of the bridge deck preformed in ABAQUS, a commercial software. The study provided insight in the behavior of the deck and verified the desired performance, which would enable increased implementation of this manufactured product.

About Juan Tzoc Jr.:
Juan Tzoc Jr. is a senior at Lehigh University pursuing a B.S. in Civil Engineering and will be graduating in May 2015. During the summer of 2014, he started research on the NJDOT Orthotropic Bridge Deck Project under the supervision of Dr. Sougata Roy at the ATLSS Engineering Research Center. He also has previous research experience in the field of Geotechnical Engineering with Professor Suleiman. Currently, he holds two student leadership positions as President of Chi Epsilon- the Civil Engineering Honor Society and Vice-President of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is also a member of Tau Beta Pi – The Engineering Honor Society and Phi Sigma Pi National Honors Fraternity. After graduation, he will continue with his education by pursuing a M.S in Structural Engineering.