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Investigation of Deterioration of Stainless Steel Dowel Tubes Under Repeated Loading

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  01/01/2006


The Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) has selected a 316L stainless steel schedule 40 pipe as a new dowel bar to be used as a bid alternative for its high performance Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) pavements. Although this dowel bar should provide sufficient shear transfer capacity and low concrete bearing stresses, there was a concern that lack of a solid core may not provide sufficient resistance of the cross-section to distortion under a heavy axle loading. In this study, long-term performance of the 316L stainless steel schedule 40 pipe was investigated by subjecting a doweled joint to accelerated repeated loads through the use of the Minnesota Accelerated Loading Facility (Minne-ALF-2). Assessment of the new dowel bar performance was performed based on comparison with the standard 1.5 inch diameter epoxy -coated round steel dowel. The following tasks were accomplished: redesign, assembly and calibration of new version of Minne-ALF, development of experimental design matrix, conduct of accelerated full-scale testing, and post-testing evaluation. The results from the MinneALF-2 tests illustrated that while the LTE for the stainless steel dowel tubes was lower than the LTE for the epoxy-coated dowels, the stainless steel tubes are capable of providing over 70% LTE in the long-term when installed in concrete pavement joints. The ability to withstand deformation and corrosion while providing sufficient long-term performance suggests that the stainless steel tube dowel is an attractive alternative to the solid epoxy-coated dowel for use in long-life pavements.

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