Sustainable Bridges – Research at Queen’s

This research investigates the performance of FRP (Fibre Reinforced Polymer) reinforcement in laterally restrained slabs. The objective of the research is to design high performance slabs with small amounts of corrosion free reinforcement.  FRP is a durable replacement to steel in reinforced traditional slabs. In the past the severe corrosion of steel reinforcement has occurred and the cost to rectify the damages sometimes exceeded the original cost of the structure and involved considerable disruption. The implementation of FRP reinforcement in civil engineering would help to produce sustainable and durable structures.

Compressive Membrane Action (CMA) is an enhanced strength development which occurs in laterally restrained slabs. Previous investigations into laterally restrained steel reinforced slabs showed that these slabs demonstrated a different type of behaviour and developed strength far in excess of the design strength calculated by conventional methods. So far FRP reinforced slabs have been purposely designed with excessive reinforcement to avoid catastrophic failure due to FRP fracture and also to improve the stiffness of the slab. However using CMA behaviour, the amount of FRP in the slab can be lowered, allowing for the design of economical and high performance slabs without compromising strength and serviceability.

Sustainability is expected to be achieved in the UK by emphasising key tasks such as sustainable consumption, lower energy consumption and using sustainable resources etc.  Introducing FRP reinforcement and incorporating CMA with the FRP reinforced slabs can obtain these three major sustainable achievements.

  • Since FRP is a very durable material, unlike steel reinforced structures the FRP reinforced structures will have a longer life span.
  • As a result of considering CMA action, it is possible to reduce the amount of reinforcement required for laterally restrained slab without compromising its performance. Therefore fewer resources are used.
  • FRP is a light weight material compared to steel reinforcement. Therefore associated energy consumption for mobilisation and handling in the site is lower.

The successful development of FRP reinforced laterally restrained slabs is not only advantageous in achieving good structural design but also makes a contribution to creating a more sustainable world. To view more please click the link below…..


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