Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)

Degree Level



Civil Engineering


William M. Hale

Committee Member

Gary Prinz

Second Committee Member

Canh Dang


Applied sciences, Bridges, Concrete, Durability, Temperature effects


Climate change and its effect on weather in the United States is a well-documented phenomenon. In particular, extreme heat waves have become more intense, more frequent, and longer lasting, especially in the southern United States. As with much of America’s transportation infrastructure, prestressed concrete bridge girders experience the effects of these heat waves. Uneven heating of optimized bridge girder sections results in large non-linear temperature gradients. In this study, temperature was monitored in three different AASHTO I-girders to determine the vertical and transverse temperature gradients in a pre-deck placement condition. It was determined that the current design standard, which uses a non-linear vertical thermal gradient, was inaccurate in both shape and magnitude for girders Type IV and smaller in this condition. Transverse gradients were also recommended as none are included in design standards. Using three dimensional modeling, this study also sought to understand the response of the girders to non-linear temperature gradients and if they should be accounted for in girder design.