Scale model tests at Texas A&M University were conducted as part of this study to investigate the bridge failure mechanism. A 1:15 (lab:prototype) scale model of a typical, simple-span highway bridge deck was subjected to wave attack. Wave height, period, and storm surge elevation were varied in the lab.
The laboratory tests showed that properly scaled waves can move bridge decks off their pile caps when the surge level is near the elevation of the bridge decks. The decks progressively move in the downwave direction in response to individual waves until the decks fall off the pile caps. It was also noted during these laboratory experiments that the downwave width of U.S. bridge decks can interact with the wave phase for some wave and water level conditions to cause spatially-varying loads (particularly uplift) which impart a moment. These moments may be a critical aspect of bridge deck response.
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