Numerical Modeling of Ground Source Bridge Deck Deicing


Ground-source heating of bridge decks can be an alternative to the use of salts and chemicals to deice bridge decks. Energy foundations, geothermal boreholes, shallow trenches or the approach embankment can be utilized as energy storage media and heat exchange pathways to utilize the ground as a heat source. Coupling the energy foundation with a ground-source heat pump can provide higher inlet fluid temperatures and result in more effective bridge heating but at the expense of greater energy consumption and increased system complication. Circulating the fluid directly from the energy foundation to the bridge deck relies heavily on the in-situ ground temperatures. This paper outlines the operational principles and how these are related to the design parameters of bridge deck deicing systems. A series of parametric analyses were performed to investigate the bridge deck heating process. The analyses considered a variety of tube spacings, inlet fluid temperatures (i.e. ground temperatures), flow rates, wind speeds, ambient temperatures and thicknesses of concrete cover over the circulation tubes. The results serve as a benchmark to gauge the operational conditions and the energy requirements for designing ground-source bridge deck deicing systems.

Meeting Name

International Workshop on Geomechanics and Energy: The Ground as Energy Source and Storage (2013: Nov. 26-28, Lausanne, Switzerland)


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Bridge Decks; Energy Utilization; Geomechanics; Snow And Ice Removal; Tubes (Components), Energy Requirements; Fluid Temperatures; Geothermal Boreholes; Ground Temperature; Ground-Source Heat Pump; Operational Conditions; Operational Principles; Parametric -Analysis, Geothermal Energy

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2013 European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2013

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