Identification of Composite Action Through Truck Load Testing Academic Article uri icon


  • 2018 Yarnold, Golecki and Weidner. The continual increase of truck weights on our transportation system is a growing concern among bridge engineers. The load carrying capacity of the structures within the system must withstand this ever-growing demand. For multi-girder steel bridges, the load carrying capacity is heavily influenced by the presence of composite action between the girders and the concrete deck slab. While detailing to ensure reliable composite action is typically included in new designs, for many existing structures, the owner may not fully know the level of composite action. This may be due to administrative issues like insufficient original construction drawings or mechanical issues like breakdown of the shear transfer components. Even in situations where composite action was not intended there exists some partial interaction due to chemical bond and friction. Clearly understanding the presence and reliability of composite action in multi-girder structures is key to managing these structures effectively. This paper explores how load testing has been utilized to identify the level of composite action for existing bridges. The challenges associated with field identification of composite action are presented. In addition, three case studies of truck load testing are discussed. The first case utilized uncontrolled ambient truck measurements of an instrumented structure to field determine the composite behavior. The second and third cases perform a controlled load test with variations in truck weights and positions. Overall, the paper illustrates the advantages and disadvantages of truck load testing for identification of composite action and provides recommendations for future studies.

published proceedings

  • Frontiers in Built Environment

altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Yarnold, M., Golecki, T., & Weidner, J.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Yarnold, Matthew||Golecki, Thomas||Weidner, Jeffrey

publication date

  • January 2018