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Field Application of Composites


The Constructed Facilities Center has been conducting extensive research in the area of composite materials to combat the repair cost of deteriorated conventional structures. Since the 19th century, composite materials have proven to be efficient and economical for the development and repair of new and deteriorating structures in civil engineering. The structural properties and the ease of construction of FRP make them ideal for extensive application in civil engineering. Over the years the Center has accomplished successful bridge applications in West Virginia using different types of FRP composites. The three types of FRP composites for bridges that are focused are:

  1. FRP structural shapes and systems for bridge structures
  2. FRP rebars for concrete decks
  3. FRP wraps bonded to concrete
In West Virginia, 12 bridges were replaced with FRP composite decks while six bridges were reinforced with FRP rebar in concrete decks and four bridge beams and columns were strengthened with FRP wraps. There are two bridges that are completely composite. The history of FRP bridges is still brief and much information regarding the long-term performance has yet to be gathered. We hope that new FRP composite bridges will exhibit the durability, provide the requisite economics, appeal to the aesthetic sense of the public and finally grow in leaps and bounds during the 21st century.