Arching action in high strength concrete slabs

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    63 Citations (Scopus)


    The corrosion of reinforcement in bridge deck slabs has been the cause of major deterioration and high costs in repair and maintenance.This problem could be overcome by reducing the amount of reinforcement and/or altering the location.This is possible because, in addition to the strength provided by the reinforcement, bridge deck slabs have an inherent strength due to the in-plane arching forces set up as a result of restraint provided by the slab boundary conditions. This is known as arching action or Compressive Membrane Action (CMA). It has been recognised for some time that laterally restrained slabs exhibit strengths far in excess of those predicted by most design codes but the phenomenon has not been recognised by the majority of bridge design engineers. This paper presents the results of laboratory tests on fifteen reinforced concrete slab strips typical of a bridge deck slab and compares them to predicted strengths using the current codes and CMA theory. The tests showed that the strength of laterally restrained slabs is sensitive to both the degree of external lateral restraint and the concrete compressive strength.The tests particularly highlighted the benefits in strength obtained from very high strength concrete slabs. The theory extends the existing knowledge of CMA in slabs with concrete compressive strengths up to 100 N/mm[2] and promotes more economical and durable bridge deck construction by utilising the benefits of high strength concrete.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)353-362
    Number of pages10
    JournalProceedings of the ICE - Structures and Buildings
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2001


    • stress analysis
    • bridges
    • codes of practice & standards

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Civil and Structural Engineering
    • Building and Construction

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