Extension and compression of elastomeric butt joint seals

Stephen A. Ketcham, Jan M. Niemiec, Gregory B. McKenna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The conventional practice for the design of elastomeric butt joint seals in pavement and building expansion joints is based primarily on standard tests of model seals. The practice does not incorporate structural analysis and does not utilize mechanical properties of the sealant. This study concerns the applicability of a particular load versus deflection equation for the extension and compression design of these seals, i.e., the elementary large compression equation suggested by Payne in 1956 and Gent and Lindley in 1959 for bonded rubber blocks. The study demonstrates, using experiments to measure strain energy density functions for two sealants, by application of these functions in finite-element analyses and by comparison of the finite-element and elementary analysis results, the capabilities and limitations of the load versus deflection equation. In the process, the study introduces an efficient experimental technique for evaluating coefficients of the Rivlin strain energy density polynomial for general application to the analysis of elastomeric structures, and demonstrates the utility of the finite-element-based approach for extension and compression analysis of butt joint seals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-676
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Engineering Mechanics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1996


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