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Title: Field testing and load rating of the world's first thermoplastic bridge Bridge : T-8518, Camp Mackall, Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Authors: Bridge Diagnostics, Inc.
United States. Army. Installation Management Command.
Commander, Brett C.
Diaz-Alvarez, Henry.
Keywords: BDI
Corrosion prevention
Load test
Recycled plastic lumber
Recycled materials
Thermoplastic bridge
Publisher: Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Series/Report no.: ERDC/GSL TR ; 10-19.
Description: Technical Report
Abstract: Live-load tests were conducted on Bridge T-8518 located on Tuckers Road in Camp Mackall near Fort Bragg, North Carolina. This bridge was tested because it was constructed of a new structural material consisting primarily of recycled plastic lumber (RPL). The primary goal of the testing was to obtain the responses of the bridge to the live loads in order to determine its load capacity ratings for both civilian and military vehicles and, specifically, to determine if the RPL structure could safely carry an M1 tank. A finite element model of the entire superstructure was developed and used to calculate the responses of the RPL bridge. The results from the calculations were reasonably accurate when compared with the measured field data but were very sensitive to small variations in load position due to the spacing of the bridge beams and the flexibility of the plank deck. Once a realistic yet conservative model of the structure was obtained, load ratings were computed based on an allowable stress approach. Allowable stress limits that were provided by the manufacturer corresponded to stresses that could be applied to the RPL material for a long period of time with deformations 100% recoverable once the load was removed. These stress limits were a small fraction of the ultimate stress limits for RPL. However, an ultimate load capacity would be difficult to calculate because it would result in highly nonlinear and time-dependent responses with extremely large deformations. The load rating results only apply to the bridge superstructure. Deformations of the RPL piles were measured during the load test, but no assessment could be made concerning the pile capacity. The pile capacity should be verified from the design engineer and the piling contractor to ensure that the piles have sufficient bearing strength to withstand the load limits of the superstructure.
Rights: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Appears in Collections:Technical Report

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