Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC), Steel Girder Repair, Beam end corrosion, Bridge maintenance repair method, concrete encasement

Major Advisor

Arash E. Zaghi

Associate Advisor

Kay Wille

Associate Advisor

Wei Zhang

Associate Advisor

Jeongho Kim

Field of Study

Civil Engineering


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Corrosion damage of girder ends is a prevalent problem throughout the United States. Heavy section loss is often located beneath leaking expansion joints, which deposits water and chlorides on the girders and accelerates corrosion. Section loss at these critical locations may be detrimental to the bearing capacity of the girder. Current repair methods are costly, time consuming, and disruptive to traffic. A new repair method has been developed by the University of Connecticut and the Connecticut Department of Transportation for corroded steel bridge girder ends. The proposed repair method consists of encasing the corroded steel area with ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC). The UHPC panel is bonded to the steel girder end using headed shear studs welded to the non-corroded portions of the web. The shear studs provide a secondary load path that allows forces to bypass the corroded region through the UHPC panel. The repair is intended to recover the original bearing capacity of the corroded girder. This research study focused on the full-scale investigation of the application and performance of the UHPC repair method to rehabilitated corroded steel plate girders. The goal of the research was to develop recommendations for the design and construction of the repair for field implementation. The research project was divided into four research tasks: 1) design and construct an experimental program for three large-scale tests on different UHPC repairs for damaged plate girders, 2) experimentally test full-scale plate girder specimens in a three-point bending test set-up to examine the structural performance of the repair, 3) analytically validate the performance of the repair for various configurations and geometries, and 4) investigate the behavior of an alternative repair design. Several design guidelines have been proposed for the UHPC repair to allow engineers to develop and implement the repair method for a wide variety of existing conditions. The results of this research have culminated in the deployment of this repair on two major highway bridges in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Available for download on Saturday, October 19, 2019