Maintenance and Design of Steel Abutment Piles in Iowa Bridges, TR-622, 2014

(2014) Maintenance and Design of Steel Abutment Piles in Iowa Bridges, TR-622, 2014. Transportation, Department of


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Soil consolidation and erosion caused by roadway runoff have exposed the upper portions of steel piles at the abutments of numerous bridges, leaving them susceptible to accelerated corrosion rates due to the abundance of moisture, oxygen, and chlorides at these locations. This problem is compounded by the relative inaccessibility of abutment piles for close-up inspection and repair. The objective of this study was to provide bridge owners with recommendations for effective methods of addressing corrosion of steel abutment piles in existing and future bridges A review of available literature on the performance and protection of steel piles exposed to a variety of environments was performed. Eight potential coating systems for use in protecting existing and/or new piles were selected and subjected to accelerated corrosion conditions in the laboratory. Two surface preparation methods were evaluated in the field and three coating systems were installed on three piles at an existing bridge where abutment piles had been exposed by erosion. In addition, a passive cathodic protection (CP) system using sacrificial zinc anodes was tested in the laboratory. Several trial flowable mortar mixes were evaluated for use in conjunction with the CP system. For existing abutment piles, application of a protective coating system is a promising method of mitigating corrosion. Based on its excellent performance in accelerated corrosion conditions in the laboratory on steel test specimens with SSPC-SP3, -SP6, and -SP10 surface preparations, glass flake polyester is recommended for use on existing piles. An alternative is epoxy over organic zinc rich primer. Surface preparation of existing piles should include abrasive blast cleaning to SSPC-SP6. Although additional field testing is needed, based on the results of the laboratory testing, a passive CP system could provide an effective means of protecting piles in existing bridges when combined with a pumped mortar used to fill voids between the abutment footing and soil. The addition of a corrosion inhibitor to the mortar appears to be beneficial. For new construction, shop application of thermally sprayed aluminum or glass flake polyester to the upper portion of the piles is recommended.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: Air voids; Bridge abutments; Bridge design; Corrosion; Corrosion resistance; Maintenance; Moisture content; Steel bridges
Subjects: Transportation
Transportation > Bridges and tunnels
Transportation > Roads and highways
Transportation > Maintenance and preservation
ID Code: 20585
Deposited By: Leighton Christiansen
Deposited On: 29 Oct 2015 19:30
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2015 19:30