Design Criteria for Strength and Serviceability of Inverted-T Straddle Bent Caps

Gomez, Eulalio Fernandez


Several recently built inverted-T bent caps in Texas have shown significant inclined cracking triggering concern about current design procedures for such structures. The repair of such structures is very costly and often requires lane closures. For these reasons TxDOT funded Project 0-6416 aimed at obtaining a better understanding of the structural behavior of inverted-T bent caps and developing new design criteria to minimize such cracking in the future. Several tasks of the aforementioned project are addressed in this dissertation with particular focus on developing design criteria for strength and serviceability of inverted-T bent caps.

Literature review revealed a scarcity of experimental investigation of inverted-T specimens. As part of this dissertation, an inverted-T database was assembled with experimental results from the literature and the current project. An extensive experimental program was completed to accomplish the objectives of the project with thirty one full-scale tests conducted on inverted-T beams. Experimental parameters varied in the study were: ledge length, ledge depth, web reinforcement, number of point loads, web depth, and shear span-to-depth ratio. The dissertation focuses on the effects of ledge length, ledge depth, number of point loads, and developing design criteria for strength and serviceability of inverted-T beams.

Most inverted-T bent caps in Texas are designed using the traditional empirical design procedures outlined in the TxDOT bridge design manual LRFD (2011 current version) that follows closely the AASHTO LRFD bridge design specifications (2012 current version). Given the observed cracking in inverted-T bent caps, the accuracy and conservatism of the traditional design methods were evaluated based on experimental results. The accuracy and conservatism of STM design provisions recently developed in a TxDOT study (TxDOT Project 0-5253, Strength and Serviceability Design of Reinforced Concrete Deep Beams) were also evaluated.

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