This paper highlights research results from a joint effort between the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in the United States of America (USA) and the University of Coimbra (UC) in Portugal (PT). The main objective is the development of a Timber-Concrete Composite system (TCC) that utilizes precast concrete deck panels that accelerate construction times and can easily be removed to facilitate bridge repair/rehabilitation efforts and reuse options. The research is focused on various critical aspects such as the type of interconnection between the concrete deck and the glued laminated timber beams or the interconnection between the precast concrete deck panels. Several practical requirements were addressed that are important to the bridge industry in Portugal and in the USA, such as: accelerated bridge construction time, cost-competitiveness with existing bridge solutions, and eliminating the need for specialized labour skills.
Timber-concrete composite (TCC) solutions are not a novelty. They were scientifically referred to at the beginning of the 20th century and they have proven their value in recent decades. Regarding a TCC floor at the design stage, there are some assumptions, at the standard level, concerning the action of concentrated loads which may be far from reality, specifically those associating the entire load to the beam over which it is applied. This naturally oversizes the beam and affects how the load is distributed transversally, affecting the TCC solution economically and mechanically. Efforts have been made to clarify how concentrated loads are distributed, in the transverse direction, on TCC floors. Real-scale floor specimens were produced and tested subjected to concentrated (point and line) loads. Moreover, a Finite Element (FE)-based model was developed and validated and the results were collected. These results show that the “loaded beam” can receive less than 50% of the concentrated point load (when concerning the inner beams of a medium-span floor, 4.00 m). Aiming at reproducing these findings on the design of these floors, a simplified equation to predict the percentage of load received by each beam as a function of the floor span, the transversal position of the beam, and the thickness of the concrete layer was suggested.