A Smooth Ride

Jamestown Bridge

The Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge in Rhode Island.

That bumpy ride over a bridge is not just an uncomfortable, but possibly causing the bridge to deteriorate prematurely. Civil engineering Associate Professor Mayrai Gindy wants to better understand how the smoothness of concrete bridges can lengthen the lives of bridges and, ultimately, improve their safety.

Armed with a $131,370 grant from the R.I. Department of Transportation, Gindy will conduct research to determine the relationship between the placement of steel rebar in bridge decks and the measured smoothness of the deck that carries traffic. She’ll use ground-penetrating radar to locate the rebar in bridges and then use a surface-profiling machine to measure the smoothness of the concrete.

Back in her lab, Gindy will put all the results together to find the optimized location for rebar and just how much concrete workers should pour over the steel bars. In the end, her results will bring a smoother ride for drivers.