New methodologies are needed for repairing and strengthening the aging and failing transportation infrastructure. The use of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites for repair has gained popularity over the last decade as these methods have been shown to be affordable, effective, and easy to implement. FRPs in general offer several key advantages over conventional building materials. Specifically, they have high strength to weight ratios, have increased durability and corrosion resistance, and are generally “greener” than conventional materials in terms of embodied energy. FRPs are composed of either thermoset or thermoplastic resins reinforced with (usually) glass or carbon fibers, GFRP and CFRP, respectively. FRPs can be used for strengthening in several forms, such as near-surface mounted (NSM) bars and externally applied wrapping. The use of FRPs as a repair method for bridges has been investigated by several state departments of transportation in recent years. For example, FRPs have been used to restore the original flexural strength of damaged reinforced concrete bridge girders, strengthen simple-span reinforced concrete slab bridges, and seismically retrofit bridge columns. It should also be noted that MDT has used externally bonded FRPs with mixed results.
The primary objective of the proposed research is to investigate and help implement the use of FRPs to enhance the performance of Montana bridges. Specifically, the proposed research will (1) conduct an updated and thorough literature review to investigate the feasibility of using FRPs in various bridge applications in Montana, (2) identify the most promising applications of this technology for use in the state, (3) fill any minor research gaps with laboratory testing that may affect/limit the successful application in Montana’s unique climate, (4) assist in implementing the application(s) of this material in a bridge demonstration project in the state, and (5) monitor the performance of this bridge after the demonstration project. FRP composites could provide a viable solution to the repair/strengthening needs of Montana’s aging infrastructure. This research will provide the necessary step to capitalizing on the inherent benefits of these composites.
For more information, contact