Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Nithi T. Sivaneri.


FRPs (Fiber Reinforced Polymers) are lightweight and an innovative alternative to conventional materials like steel and concrete in Structural engineering. Pultruded FRP bridge decks have many advantages compared to conventional concrete decks especially in bridge engineering. In this study a finite element model of a 4"-thick low profile FRP bridge deck made of E-glass fiber and vinyl ester resin, having a fiber volume fraction of approximately 50% and weighing about 10 lb/ft2 is developed using the finite element software ANSYS. The bridge deck modeled is subjected to a central patch load, and the finite element results such as deflections, strains and equivalent flexural rigidity obtained are compared with previous experimental results. A good correlation is found to exist between the finite element and experimental results of Prodeck 4. A buckling analysis of Prodeck4 is carried out and the critical value of the buckling load of the deck is found to be around 600 kips. The models of Prodeck 4, which is used as a beam and a double beam, are also developed and their finite element results are compared to experimental results. A failure analysis is carried out on the deck and beams using maximum stress, maximum strain and Tsai-Wu failure criteria and first ply failure value is determined. A finite element model of two-module FRP deck system is generated, and the strain values at specific locations in the deck model when subjected to a central patch load are compared to the experimental values obtained at these locations.