The use of timber–concrete composite (TCC) bridges in the United States dates back to approximately 1924 when the first bridge was constructed. Since then a large number of bridges have been built, of which more than 1,400 remain in service. The oldest bridges still in service are now more than 84 years old and predominately consist of two different TCC systems. The first system is a slab-type system that includes a longitudinal nail-laminated deck composite with a concrete deck top layer. The second system is a stringer system that includes either sawn timber or glulam stringers supporting a concrete deck top layer. The records indicate that most of the TCC highway bridges were constructed during the period of 1930–1960. The study presented in this paper discusses the experience and per-formance of these bridge systems in the US. The analysis is based on a review of the relevant literature and databases complemented with field inspections conducted within various research projects. Along with this review, a historical overview of the codes and guidelines available for the design of TCC bridges in the US is also included. The analysis undertaken showed that TCC bridges are an effective and durable design alternative for highway bridges once they have shown a high performance level, in some situations after more than 80 years in service with a low maintenance level.
Glued laminated timber (glulam) is known in timber constructions since more than 100 years. Glulam members can delaminate due to aging and excessive changes of temperature and humidity. This results in significantly reduced load bearing capability of the affected structural members. This contribution focuses on the ultrasonic point-contact inspection of gluing plane
delamination as a nondestructive method. Ultrasonic measurements on a section of a 90-year old roofing glulam member are presented. The results are compared with manual detection and evaluation of delamination with a feeler gauge, with X-ray computed tomography analyses,
and with numerical simulations. Appropriate data evaluation of the mechanized ultrasonic results allows the determination of material separation that are deeper than 20 mm in the signature of the surface wave and large-scale delamination ( > 80% of the complete bonding width) in the back-wall echo. Numerical simulations based on the finite-difference time-domain method shed light into the details of the wave propagation and support the experimental findings.
The field of Civil Engineering has lately gained increasing interest in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), commonly referred to as drones. Due to an increase of deteriorating bridges according to the report released by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), a more efficient and cost-effective alternative for bridge inspection is required. The goal of this paper was to analyze the effectiveness of drones as supplemental bridge inspection tools. In pursuit of this goal, the selected bridge for inspection was a three-span gluedlaminated timber girder with a composite concrete deck located near the city of Keystone in the state of South Dakota (SD)...
Project contact is Junwon Seo at South Dakota State University
Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) has great potential to promote wood products markets in appropriate transportation structures, particularly bridges on low-volume roads such as rural or forest roads. The project’s goals are to perform field load testing and evaluation of a demonstration CLT bridge on the nation’s low-volume roads and evaluate its long-term performance under in-service loads and environmental exposure. The team will pursue these goals through the following research objectives: 1) Design the demonstration CLT bridge system with design details; 2) Fabricate the designed CLT bridge; 3) Install the fabricated CLT bridge on a roadway in Grand Portage National Monument with Western Wood Structures, Wheeler, Cook County in Minnesota and the National Park Service; and 4) Perform load testing to assess performance of the implemented bridge and monitor its moisture content and field performance through visual inspection for its long-term behavior evaluation.
This research aims to develop a new bridge inspection approach using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) coupled with digital image correlation (DIC) system. The DIC system incorporating UAV images can measure displacements or strains by analyzing patterns of reference and deformed images. As part of this research, a commercially available UAV, DJI Matrice 210, was integrated with the DIC system using a 3D printed mounting plate, and the joint UAV-DIC system was utilized to inspect a timber bridge girder in the Structure Lab. Then, the UAV-DIC system inspected an existing timber slab bridge in Pipestone, Minnesota, but the system was not able to efficiently identify critical damage due to its instability caused by windy conditions. Therefore, only the UAV equipped with a gimbal camera was operated to perform the bridge inspection. A significant number of images from the UAV were used and analyzed through a conventional image analysis algorithm within ImageJ software for damage quantification. The major conclusion from this research was that the UAV-DIC system was only able to detect and quantify damage (i.e., crack) on the considered girder under almost zero ambient wind conditions, and the UAV integrated with the image analysis algorithm was capable of damage identification and quantification for the inspected bridge.
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction systems have been used commercially for over 20 years, mainly in Western Europe and North America. However, there has not been a report on the current status of CLT buildings. Deterioration of wooden buildings could result from a variety of causes and the life of the structures could be extended if periodic inspections were conducted. This research introduces a visual inspection methodology for assessing deterioration of CLT structures. The inspection methodology was tested in six CLT buildings in Austria. The methodology was proven to be effective in determining the current internal and external condition of the examined CLT structures. The oldest CLT structure inspected dates from 2004. The newest structure inspected was still under construction. The results of the application of the visual inspecting tool show that there was very little damage to the CLT structures. The main causes of damage came from exposure to water on the exterior of the buildings and poor control of humidity and temperature in indoor conditions. Architects who designed the inspected buildings were interviewed to cross validate the results of the visual inspection methodology. In addition, the interviews provided important insights related to the design, construction, and current conditions of the buildings. Furthermore, the architects also provided information regarding the main barriers and drivers that affect CLT construction in Austria.