Bridges, Tunnels and other Transportation Structures
The finger Plate expansion devices are frequently used to account for medium and large expansive or contractive movements and reasonable rotations of two bridge deck slabs. Under high traffic volume, these devices can experience premature deterioration that requires their replacement. In this paper, experimental tests were performed on a prototype to study the strength and modes of failure of the joints. Different parameters were studied such as finger plate size, stiffener design, anchor strap, and effect of concrete. Finite element models were created and validated using the experimental results. Experimental results showed that the vertical stiffener has a significant effect on increasing the strength of the joints. The numerical model showed that the critical locations of stress concentrations are found in the frontal and back welds between the finger plate and the supporting beam top flange. Furthermore, other stress concentration positions were located in the vertical stiffener weld and finger base curve. The results of this investigation is used to provide recommendations for improved finger plate design that meets the service life of the bridge deck.