The objectives of this research were to investigate the effect of stay-in-place metal forms (SIPMFs) on the performance of concrete bridge decks in Utah. The research program included six bridge decks with SIPMFs and six decks without SIPMFs, which were all located within the Interstate 215 corridor in the vicinity of Salt Lake City, Utah, and therefore subject to similar traffic loading, climatic conditions, and maintenance treatments, including applications of deicing salts during winter months. All of the tested decks were constructed between 1984 and 1989 using epoxy-coated rebar. Several tests were performed at each of six locations on each deck, including visual inspection, chain dragging, hammer sounding, Schmidt hammer testing, half-cell potential testing, and chloride concentration testing. Because differences in deck age and average cover for the two deck types were found to be statistically significant, the collected data were subjected to analysis of covariance (ANOCOVA) testing, with age and cover as covariates. All calculated p-values were compared to the standard value of 0.05. The distress survey results indicate that the average crack width and crack density for decks without SIPMFs were greater by 41 and 25 percent, respectively, than the corresponding values for decks with SIPMFs and that decks without SIPMFs had more potholes than decks with SIPMFs. However, the delamination density for bridge decks with SIPMFs was 71 percent higher than that of decks without SIPMFs. The average Schmidt rebound number for decks with SIPMFs was higher than that for decks without SIPMFs by an equivalent of 1,400 psi. The half-cell potential for decks with SIPMFs was 0.123 lower than that of decks without SIPMFs, indicating that a more active state of corrosion exists on decks with SIPMFs. On average, the chloride concentration in the bridge decks with SIPMFs was 205 percent greater than the concentration in the decks without SIPMFs. Among all of the distress measurements evaluated in the ANOCOVA, crack width was the only parameter that was determined to be significantly different between the two types of decks at the time of testing. In addition, Schmidt rebound number, half-cell potential, and chloride concentration at 2-in. depth all yielded p-values less than 0.05, indicating that significant differences in these properties exist between decks with and without SIPMFs. Specifically, the decks with SIPMFs have a higher compressive strength, a more active state of corrosion, and a higher chloride concentration, which may all be attributable to elevated moisture contents in decks with SIPMFs arising from the reduction in deck surface area from which moisture may evaporate. These data indicate that decks with SIPMFs are clearly more susceptible to reinforcement corrosion compared to decks without SIPMFs and may therefore exhibit greater magnitudes of damage with time. Given these research findings, engineers should carefully compare the short-term advantages against the potential long-term disadvantages associated with the use of SIPMFs for concrete bridge deck construction. If SIPMFs are approved for use, engineers may consider applying surface treatments to the affected decks early in the deck life to minimize the ingress of chlorides into the concrete over time and therefore retard the onset of reinforcement corrosion.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





concrete bridge decks, corrosion, chloride concentration, deck distress, half-cell potential, stay-in-place forms