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Stiffness and strength of metal bridge deck forms
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Light gauge metal sheeting is often utilized in the building and bridge industries for concrete formwork. Although the in-plane stiffness and strength of the metal forms are commonly relied upon for stability bracing in buildings, the forms are generally not considered for bracing in steel bridge construction. The primary difference between the forming systems in the two industries is the method of connection between the forms and girders. In bridge construction, an eccentric support angle is incorporated into the connection details to achieve a uniform slab thickness along the girder length. While the eccentric connection is a benefit for slab construction, the flexible connection limits the amount of bracing provided by the forms. This paper presents results from the first phase of a research study investigating the bracing behavior of metal bridge deck forms. Shear diaphragm tests were conducted to determine the shear stiffness and strength of bridge deck forms, and modified connection details were developed that substantially improve the bracing behavior of the forms. The measured stiffness and strength of diaphragms with the modified connection often met or exceeded the values of diaphragms with conventional noneccentric connections. The experimental results for the diaphragms with the modified connection details dramatically improve the potential for bracing of steel bridge girders by metal deck forms.