The National Academies

NCHRP 10-64 [Completed]

Field Inspection of In-Service FRP Bridge Decks

  Project Data
Funds: $300,000
Research Agency: Construction Technology Laboratories
Principal Investigator: Adrian Ciolko, P.E.
Effective Date: 4/16/2003
Completion Date: 12/31/2005


Guidelines and recommended field procedures for inspection of in-service fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) bridge decks are needed. Inspection and monitoring of FRP structures varies widely, from no monitoring, to visual inspection, to experimental NDE techniques. The criteria for field inspection should be based on identification of critical components of FRP decks and determination of critical accumulated damage thresholds in those components. Modal analysis, global inspection techniques, and remote monitoring are already being employed on FRP structures for overall condition assessment. An emphasis on techniques for point damage detection is needed. Other inspection issues include accuracy and reliability requirements for inspection data, continuous versus periodic data collection, depth and frequency of inspection, reliability requirements for equipment and sensors, and calibrating the guidelines with field project data.

In addition, the type of inspection data collected and the recording format varies. As a consequence, it is difficult to compare one project to another. Thus, there is a need for a standard inspection reporting format to make such comparisons possible. Comparative data would also help the composites industry to refine the technology to better meet the states' needs.


The objective of this project is to develop recommended field procedures, evaluation guidelines, and reporting standards for periodic inspection of in-service FRP bridge decks. A training course for FRP bridge deck inspectors shall also be developed.

Accomplishment of the project objective will require the following tasks.

TASKS (1.) Prepare an assessment of performance data, research findings, and other information to determine the failure modes and serviceability problems of FRP bridge decks. Catalog critical details, damage types, and the accumulated damage thresholds for each type of FRP bridge deck. This information shall be assembled from technical literature and from unpublished experiences of engineers, owners, fabricators, and others. (2.) Describe the state of inspection practice for FRP bridge decks and identify applicable FRP inspection procedures from other industries. The applicability and effectiveness of visual inspection procedures should be thoroughly evaluated. Documented field performance, especially as it relates to predictions based on the results of current inspection practices, is of particular interest. Field procedures, evaluation guidelines, and reporting standards shall be assessed for speed and economy of use, and for their suitability for integration into the states' bridge inspection programs. (3.) Determine suitable inspection procedures for each critical detail, damage type, and deck type identified in Task 1. With an emphasis on point damage detection, select procedures from those identified in Task 2 based on technical, operational, and economic criteria. Document and justify the reasons for these selections. Clearly identify details, damage types, and deck types for which no suitable inspection procedures exist. (4.) Prepare a detailed outline of an inspection manual for FRP bridge decks. The outline shall include recommended record keeping requirements, relevant data items, and a proposed inspection report format. (5.) Submit an interim report that documents the results of Tasks 1 through 4. Following project panel review of the interim report, meet with the panel to discuss the interim report and the remaining tasks. NCHRP approval of the interim report will be required before proceeding with the remaining tasks. (6.) Develop a draft inspection manual based on the approved outline. The manual shall be prepared in the format used in the FHWA publication "Safety Inspection of In-Service Bridges, Participant Notebook." (7.) Develop an instructors guide and appropriate training materials for a course on field inspection and documentation of the condition of FRP bridge decks. (8.) Revise the inspection manual, the training guide, and training materials consistent with panel comments. (9.) Plan and conduct a pilot training course on FRP bridge deck inspection. It is expected that the course will last not more than 2 days with approximately 25 participants. The NCHRP will select course participants and provide the facility for the course. The contractor will be responsible only for the cost of training materials and training staff. (10.) Submit a final report documenting the research effort. The inspection manual, training guide, and training materials, revised to reflect comments from the pilot training class, shall constitute appendices to the report.

Status: The project is complete.

Product Availability: The contractor's final report and the inspection manual have been published as NCHRP Report 564.

To create a link to this page, use this URL: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=284