Behavior of the Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Elastic Inclusion at Integral Abutments

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Structure and Bridge Division has promoted and developed guidelines for the use of integral or jointless bridges. The lateral movement of integral abutments due to the repetitive expansion/contraction cycles sometimes causes excessive settlement at the bridge approaches (bump at the end of the bridge). To minimize this problem, VDOT implemented the use of elasticized Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) inclusion. However, the properties of different EPS materials that are available on the market vary widely and there are no standardized tests and reliable data available to assess their suitability for the integral bridge applications. This research will focus on developing specific testing procedures that are relevant to this problem. Long-term mechanical properties of different EPS materials under cyclic load applications will be investigated in detail. Based on the results obtained from these tests, elastic inclusion design recommendations for integral bridges will be proposed.