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Benefits of Steel-Concrete Composite Bridges

Construction Tech Review | Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Steel-concrete composite structures have been used in construction due to their ability to adapt their geometry to design constraints.

FREMONT, CA: Steel-concrete composite bridges are used as a substitute to concrete bridges due to their capability to adjust their geometry to design restraints and the skill to reuse some of the structure's materials.

It has been discovered that life cycle impact assessment and decision-making strategies enable bridge managers to enhance decision-making, especially toward the end of the composite bridge's lifespan. Due to the sheer transmission between the compound materials, concrete, and steel, composite girders can be detailed in various ways, allowing bridge engineers to develop tailored, cost-efficient solutions for short and medium-span bridge structures.

Composite bridge decks are typically made up of a steel structure joined to a top concrete slab that shapes the road, rail, or pedestrian platform.

There are two types of mechanical connectors used in steel-concrete composite structures. The first is discrete connectors that are typically located along the girder. All these connectors were shop-welded, for example, to the upper flange of a steel beam before being integrated into concrete on the job site.

What does bridge composite mean?

The term "composite" refers to a bridge's steel structure being attached to the concrete building of the deck, allowing the steel and concrete to work together to reduce deflections and increase strength. This is accomplished by affixing 'shear connectors' to the steel beams and then embedding them in the concrete. Shear connectors can be welded on, perhaps with a stud welder, or, on export work, by fixing.

When adequately spaced to resist loads, shear connectors allow the concrete to work 'successively' with the steel.

Advantages of steel-concrete composite bridges

The SCCB construction process is unique in that it distinguishes between the steel and concrete components of the structure. The most popular form is developing and placing the steel part of the bridge first, utilizing support systems to decrease deflections.

The concrete slab formwork and reinforcement are then installed, and the concrete is placed. This one-of-a-kind process gave the structure its distinct behavior, and researchers are presently developing and researching various construction processes for SCCBs.

Composite bridges are becoming increasingly prevalent worldwide because they combine some of the benefits of steel bridges with some of the critical features of concrete bridges. A composite bridge has the following characteristics:

  • The main steel structure is much convenient to erect than a concrete girder construction.
  • A light structure that places less strain on piers and foundations, enabling cost savings.
  • A concrete slab is less expensive and easier to construct than an orthotropic steel deck.

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