Civil and Environmental Engineering


Date of this Version



Alex, A.A., "Volume-Change Restraining Effects in Continuous Precast/Prestressed Concrete Bridge Girders". M.S. Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.2016.


A Thesis Presented to the faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Civil Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professor Christopher Y. Tuan. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2016

Copyright © 2016 Athul Abraham Alex


A variety of design and construction practices are feasible when building precast concrete continuous bridges with long spans. Precast, prestressed concrete continuous bridges have been implemented by countries around the world. Although these bridges have been in service for many years, there has been limited verification of the ability of connection to provide the predicted continuity. Subsequently many states in the United States design the girders as simple spans for both dead and live loads without considering any moments developed by the connection. The effect of thermal expansion and contraction is hardly considered in the analysis, even though it is found to have significant effects on continuity.

The objective of this study is to evaluate the current state of the art practices relevant to continuous precast concrete bridges and to recommend the most suitable design methods of analyzing the continuity behavior. This research focuses on providing detailed analysis to evaluate the restraining effects in a continuous bridge system. Detailed analysis was performed using the specifications of the NU-girder system, which has been a widely adopted solution in the State of Nebraska.

This research consisted of two phases:

Phase 1: Conduct an extensive literature survey to find information regarding existing continuity behavior as investigated by various researchers.

Phase 2: Propose the most suitable method for analyzing connection design. Discuss advantages, construction time and cost comparisons of the NU-girder system with other systems adopted in the United States.

Advisor: Christopher Y. Tuan