The deterioration of bridge decks has been identified as a major problem in Indiana. The primary cause of this deterioration is salt water ingress from the application of deicing salts during the winter. Deicing chemicals placed on the road mix with water and enter the deck through cracks and the pore structure of the concrete. This results in corrosion of the reinforcing steel and scaling of the surface, which leads to a shortened bridge deck life and costly deck replacement. The objective of this study is to investigate potentially effective and economic bridge deck preservation methods to significantly extend the service life of bridge decks, and as a result, extend the life of bridge structures in the State of Indiana. The research is presented in two volumes. Volume 1 focuses on the development and implementation of the experimental program. A survey of State Departments of Transportation identified the types of bridge deck preservation programs that are currently in use, the methods that they have employed in the past, and the perceived level of success with these programs and methods. A literature review provided information regarding specific products that performed well, characteristics of broader chemical families and their best uses, and other variables that may influence the effectiveness of sealers. The results of the DOT survey and literature review were used to determine the materials and methods to be further investigated in the experimental study. Based on this background, a series of macrocell specimens were constructed, and a salt water exposure regimen was initiated to examine the effectiveness of deck/crack sealer materials and application methods that were identified. Volume 2 presents the results of this study which were developed through the analysis of the recorded electrical activity after 1600 days of exposure followed by autopsy of the specimens. A visual rating scheme was used to assess the specimens during autopsy and to demonstrate the correspondence between the observed severity of corrosion and the recorded electrical activity. In addition, a deck sealer was applied to specimens with preexisting corrosion to evaluate the sealer's effectiveness in slowing the rate of corrosion. The deck sealer products were studied further by correlating both the sealer penetration depth and the chloride penetration profile with the products' effectiveness in resisting corrosion activity. A preliminary field application of crack sealer to an existing bridge deck was completed to evaluate processes, equipment, and other required resources. Finally, recommendations are provided regarding product selection and application to enable cost effective implementation of a bridge deck sealing program across the State of Indiana.

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bridges, bridge deck service life, bridge deck preservation, maintenance, durability, corrosion, macrocell, concrete deck, bridge deck cracking, concrete sealer, deck sealer, crack sealer, deck sealant, crack sealant, crack repair, healer-sealer, penetrating sealer, chloride ingress, water repellent, salt ingress, silane, linseed oil, low viscosity epoxy, methacrylate, depth of penetration

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Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, Indiana

Date of this Version