The Effect of Transverse Stiffener Beams on Shear Transfer


Carol Shield, Henryk Stolarski, Paul Bergson, Khalid Obeidat

January 2003

Report no. Mn/DOT 2003-12

There are many wooden bridges in the United States. Their decks are often built of timber beams nailed together and covered with asphalt. The asphalt plays a mechanical role, and it provides environmental protection for the wood deck. The asphalt layer deteriorates and requires replacement. That leads to a faster deterioration of the deck, increased maintenance, and shorter bridge life. The flexibility of the deck is a probable cause of the fast deterioration of the asphalt. Low temperatures lead to deformations of the deck and may lead to cracks, which are propagated by mechanical and environmental effects. This project investigates stiffening the bridge deck by connecting a beam perpendicularly to the deck planks with metal bolts to reduce deformations of the deck. The additional beam is called a Transverse Stiffener Beam (or TSB). It can be incorporated as a part of new bridges or be attached to existing bridges. The investigations show the TSB significantly reduces deformations of the deck in most cases. The study indicates the positive effects of the TSB's should be expected in other applications. The magnitude of the effects can be analyzed with the computer program developed during this project. An investigation of the use of Transverse Stiffener Beams (TSB) for use on new and existing wooden bridges to reduce deformations of bridge decks, thus prolonging the life of asphalt bridge coverings, was undertaken. Positive effects of TSBs should be expected in other applications and can be analyzed with a computer program developed by this project.

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