The objectives of this research were 1) to investigate the effects of hydrodemolition treatment timing on chloride concentration profiles in concrete bridge decks for depths of concrete removal below the top mat of reinforcing steel and 2) to investigate factors that influence the occurrence of blow-throughs in concrete bridge decks when hydrodemolition is used. The research results are intended to provide engineers with guidance about the latest timing of hydrodemolition that can maintain a chloride concentration level below 2.0 lb of chloride per cubic yard of concrete at the levels of both the top and bottom mats of reinforcing steel, as well as about conditions that may indicate a higher probability of blow-through during hydrodemolition. The scope of this research included a questionnaire survey of hydrodemolition companies to summarize common practices in the field, numerical modeling of chloride concentration to investigate hydrodemolition treatment timing on typical Utah bridge decks, and structural analysis to investigate factors that influence the occurrence of blow-throughs during hydrodemolition. While some survey respondents indicated that certain parameters vary, the responses are valuable for understanding typical practices and were used to design the numerical experiments. The numerical modeling generated chloride concentration profiles through a 75-year service life given a specific original cover depth (OCD), treatment time, and surface treatment usage. The results indicate that, when a surface treatment is used, the concentration at either the top or bottom mat of reinforcing steel does not reach or exceed 2.0 lb of chloride per cubic yard of concrete after hydrodemolition during the 75 years of simulated bridge deck service life. The results also indicate that, when a surface treatment is not used, the chloride concentration at the top mat of reinforcement exceeds 2.0 lb of chloride per cubic yard of concrete within 10, 15, and 20 years for OCD values of 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0 in., respectively. The numerical experiments generated results in terms of the main effect of each input variable on the occurrence of blow-throughs and interactions among selected input variables. For each analysis, blow-through can be expected when the calculated factor of safety is less than 1.0. The factor of safety significantly increases with increasing values of transverse rebar spacing and concrete compressive strength and decreasing values of depth of removal below the bottom of the top reinforcing mat, orifice size, and water pressure within the ranges of these parameters investigated in this experimentation. The factor of safety is relatively insensitive to jet angle. For both case studies evaluated in this research, the blow-through analysis correctly predicted a high or low potential for blow-through on the given deck.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





blow-through, chloride concentration, concrete bridge deck, diffusion, hydrodemolition, surface treatment