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February 05, 2018
FRPs for Bridges: An Article by Gregg Blaszak

Posted by: Jaclyn Deter

The continuous deterioration of hundreds of thousands of bridges in the United States coupled with the mounting billion-dollar price tag for rehabilitation leaves state Departments of Transportation (DOT) with a daunting challenge—how can we get more done with less, and minimize the impact to the local community and economy?

Many DOTs have started considering and implementing cost-saving, nontraditional methods and materials to complete rehabilitation projects quicker and more economically. Fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) strengthening is one nontraditional method where use has grown steadily during the last 30 years and is now being adopted by more and more DOTs. 

FRPs, also known in the aerospace industry as advanced composite materials, are routinely used in the manufacturing of aircraft. Carbon fiber is lightweight, corrosion resistant and has superior mechanical properties compared to traditional building materials. These properties have contributed to the growth of FRPs as a strengthening technique for concrete, masonry and steel structures. Now used in the infrastructure industry, FRPs are externally bonded to, or wrapped around existing concrete structural members to restore or increase the load-carrying capacity of bridges or to improve their ability to withstand earthquakes. 

In his article, Gregg Blaszak details how FRPs can be used to enhance the life of bridges in various stages of deterioration. Learn more about the capabilities of FRPs for today’s infrastructure here.

 

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