Experimental Investigation of Bridge Deck Deicing using Energy Piles


Ground-source heating of bridge decks is a promising technology that can drastically reduce the use of corrosive and environmentally unfriendly deicing salts. In this concept, the foundation system of the bridge substructure and the approach embankment are designed to access the ground as a renewable energy source. During the winter, heat energy is extracted from the ground and can be circulated as warm fluid through the tubing system within the bridge deck slab to prevent icing and freezing. Heat energy can be collected in the summer through circulation tubes embedded in the concrete bridge deck and stored in the ground for use in the winter. This paper presents experimental results from several tests performed using a model-scale bridge deck connected to energy piles. The results include the response of temperatures in both the bridge deck and ground during winter heating and summer recharge operations. During heating operations, it was observed that the system was able to extract enough energy from the energy piles to keep the deck snow free during moderate snow storms. The temperature in the ground around the pile decreased during heat exchange operations and then recovered quickly afterwards in a matter of days. During summer recharge, the system was able to increase the temperature of the ground as it injected thermal energy. From this study, conclusions are drawn about the system's ability to perform under a variety of environmental conditions and recommendations are given for system operation.

Meeting Name

International Foundations Congress and Equipment Expo 2015, IFCEE 2015 (2015: Mar. 17-21, San Antonio, TX)


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Bridge Decks; Meteorological Problems; Piles; Renewable Energy Resources; Snow; Snow And Ice Removal, Bridge Deck Slabs; Bridge Substructures; Environmental Conditions; Experimental Investigations; Foundation Systems; Ground Source Heating; Renewable Energy Source; System Operation, Bridges

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2015 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Mar 2015