Time-variant flexural reliability of posttensioned, segmental concrete bridges exposed to corrosive environments

Radhakrishna G. Pillai, David Trejo, Paolo Gardoni, Mary Beth Mary, Kenneth Reinschmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Posttensioned (PT) bridges are used on major thoroughfares because they are economical structures for traversing long spans. Special inspections of these bridges have revealed corrosion of the strands at void locations in the tendons. The integrity of these strands has significant influence on the safety of these bridges. Inspections indicate that many ducts (parts of the tendon that is supposed to protect strands from exposure to aggressive environments) are cracked and many grout holes and vents are opened, allowing direct ingress of moisture and chlorides. This paper presents a framework for assessing the flexural reliability of PT bridges exposed to various environmental conditions. The moment capacity of a PT girder is formulated using probabilistic models for the tension capacity of corroding PT strands exposed to various void and environmental conditions. Using Monte Carlo simulations, the flexural reliability of an example PT bridge is assessed. The research indicates that the flexural reliability index reaches a value below the recommended value within a relatively short period of time when moisture and chlorides infiltrate the tendons. These findings emphasize the critical need for new inspection, assessment, and repair methods for these bridge types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA4014018
JournalJournal of Structural Engineering (United States)
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2014


  • Bridge
  • Chlorides
  • Concrete
  • Corrosion
  • Flexural
  • Reliability
  • Safety
  • Segmental
  • Strand
  • Structural safety and reliability
  • Tendon
  • Void

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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