Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Brandon E. Ross

Committee Member

Thomas E. Cousins

Committee Member

Michael Stoner


This thesis investigates the strength of flat precast concrete slabs that were taken from decommissioned South Carolina bridges. The specimens tested spanned 14 ft (4.3 m) or 15 ft (4.6 m), were 5 ft (1.5 m) or 5.5 ft (1.7 m) wide, and 8.25 in (210 mm) thick. In South Carolina, there are approximately 3000 similar bridges that use these slab members. Testing was conducted to determine the flexural capacity of “typical” slabs and the residual strength of slabs having visible deterioration of both the rebar and the concrete. For the slabs that were load rated below the new standards, strengthening methods that were cost-effective for the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) using steel plates were developed. The plates used were 12’-4” (3.75 m) long and adhered to the bottom of the slab The steel plates varied in widths and thicknesses depending on the desired strength increase. Based on the test results, both the rebar tensile strength and the concrete compressive strength from the typical slabs were stronger than specified, which correlated with the increase in flexural capacity observed. The slabs with visible deterioration exhibited a less flexural capacity in comparison to the typical slabs. Strengthening reinforced concrete slabs with steel plates is an effective method based upon the test results. Through different goals of flexural strength increase from 21-50%, the experimental capacity increased 11-32%. The results obtained through this investigation are important to gain more information on the condition of the bridge inventory of South Carolina, and what action is needed.

Author ORCID Identifier




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