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UTUTC-IU-22: The Use of Sustainable Materials for Quick Repair of Aging Bridges

Focus Area: Infrastructure Utilization


Principal Investigator:

Dr. Azadeh Parvin
Associate Professor
Department of Civil Engineering
The University of Toledo       

Project Dates: 07/01/2010 – 06/30/2011; No Cost Extension to 12/31/2011

Project Year: FY 2011

UT-UTC Designation: UTUTC-IU-22



During the last decade fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) materials have gained wide acceptance for repair and retrofit of existing infrastructures or to design new infrastructures due to their desirable properties (high strength to weight ratio, light weight and consequent ease of field placement, corrosion resistance, durability, and low maintenance cost among others). There is a need to strengthen the deficient and aging civil infrastructure or new structures that are identified with certain design flaws against sudden loads including impact, blast, natural disasters, or increased traffic loads over time. The addition of FRP materials to upgrade the deficiencies or to strengthen the structural components prior to collapse can save lives and damage to the infrastructure, and reduces the need for their costly replacement. Furthermore, due to their desirable properties, the retrofit with the FRP materials provides an excellent replacement for traditional materials including steel jacket to strengthen the damaged reinforced concrete structural members that are repairable. Phase I is ongoing and involves a literature review to gather information about FRP strengthening of bridge related projects and to evaluate the benefits associated with the FRP strengthening as opposed to any other alternatives . The review also includes the bridge damage due to the impact lateral load. The project is on time and up to date investigation indicates the use of FRP materials is very promising as oppose to traditional strengthening techniques used for bridge repairs. Numerous DOTs including NYSDOT, CALTRANS, WSDOT, VDOT, and PennDOT are adopting FRP materials for repair and strengthening of bridges. However, comprehensive data on full-size FRP-strengthened bridge columns are still limited. Nonlinear finite element analysis is a great tool to augment the limited available data on full-size columns in need of retrofit and allow detailed understanding and improvement of design parameters. Initial interview with local engineers also indicates the growing interest for the use of noncorrosive durable materials such as FRP for repair and strengthening of bridge components. In phase II of the project an innovative, reliable, fast, durable, and cost efficient FRP retrofit technique will be employed to strengthen the bridges that are in serious need of repair due to deterioration or accidental damage. To control the concrete cover spalling and subsequent rusting of steel bars, the FRP sheet can be wrapped around the column. Finite element analysis software program will be used to simulate the behavior of concrete bridge column models prior and after fiber composite wrapping retrofit. The as-built and FRP-retrofitted columns will be compared to access the confinement effectiveness of the retrofit technique necessary to overcome the loss in the column strength due to the deterioration and concrete spalling. Variables considered are the configuration and the amount of external reinforcement. Depending on retrofit configuration, the FRP-strengthened column will be able to not only gain its original strength that was lost due to deterioration, but also carry the increased traffic load that was never designed for. Such solution can postpone the costly replacement of the bridge or bridge components while insuring the safety of the structure. Additionally, use of fiber reinforced polymers offers an excellent alternative rehabilitation technique as non-metallic sustainable reinforcement with considerable savings relative to conventional strengthening methods due to the low maintenance and life cycle costs. 


UT-UTC Grant Amount                  $33,407
Match Amount                              $34,663
Total Project Budget                    $68,070 
 Final Report:
   Final report   PDF Symbol
Last Updated: 6/26/15