Abstract

Bridge freezing before roads is a major concern in cold climates as it is a major cause for road accidents. Several active systems were made to prevent bridge surface freezing. These systems include several automated and complex systems such as automatic anti-freeze spray, using phase change materials in the concrete bridge’s deck, and imbedding heating system in bridge’s decks. These systems are usually expensive to run and operate and some of these systems have negative impact on the environment.

This research investigates using radiant heaters for maintaining the concrete temperature within the required limits. Several passive and active methods are used to maintain concrete temperature above the that of the adjacent road. Radiant heaters provide direct, instantaneous, and uniform heating to the bridge surface.

The Infrared radiant heating method was tested using an environmental control chamber. Two concrete samples were placed in the climate chamber that simulates cold weather. Thermocouples were used to record the surface temperature, the middle of the concrete samples’ temperature and the bottom of the samples’ temperature. Infrared camera was also used to measure and verify the concrete surface temperatures. The data analysis showed that concrete surface temperature dropped quickly and become significantly lower than the ambient temperature in the absence of solar radiation. However, introducing radiant heating brings the concrete surface temperature and the core temperature of the concrete samples to the required temperature in a short period of time. A comparison between this research results and other research that investigated the performance of other freezing prevention methods showed that using radiant heating to prevent bridge freezing is effective, economical, and can be applied to existing bridges.

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