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International Workshop on Aging of Composites


Since the early 1980s, U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration has played a lead role in promoting and advancing Fiber Reinforced Polymer composites applications for highways and bridges. Understanding the durability response of polymer composite materials in terms of their aging mechanisms through material degradation at pico, micro and meso levels is critical for safe and economical field implementation of FRPs. In order to arrive at the state-of-the-art understanding and future research directions on aspects of aging of FRP composites with emphasis on their applications to infrastructure systems, 35 experts researchers, designers and owners were invited to attend the "International Workshop on Aging of FRP Composites." This workshop was sponsored by the Exploratory Advanced Research EAR Program of the Federal Highway Administration USDOT-FHWA through a National Science Foundation NSF grant IIP-1230351. It was held on September 25 and 26, 2013, at the National Transportation Safety Board Training Center, Ashburn, Virginia.

The objectives of the workshop were as follows: 1 Discuss and summarize the state-of-the-art knowledge on the aging behavior of FRPs for infrastructural applications; 2 Open discussions on FRP material and component resistance factors based on available data; 3 Suggest effective methods to collect additional data and procedures to refine and integrate all the available information in literature; and 4 Identify research needs for future research, development and evaluation programs dealing with durability and design issues leading to realistic design, construction, evaluation and rehabilitation guidelines for infrastructure systems.

The workshop began with plenary presentations by the invited experts to provide up-to-date information regarding the science on the aging of composites, followed by four parallel working group discussions. The four groups were: Group A) FRP Internal and External Reinforcement; Group B) FRP Shapes; Group C) Test Methods; and Group D) Material Degradation and Life Prediction Models. Each group addressed the following: 1) What is the state-of-the-art? 2) What are the barriers for FRP composites to be more fully utilized in infrastructure? 3) What research can break down these barriers? and 4) Where should the research, development and implementation priorities lie?

On the second day of the workshop, the group discussion summaries were presented by group chairs to all workshop participants for further discussions and possible modifications. Finally, workshop participants identified high-priority future research topics in terms of their importance and impact. The workshop participants concluded that FRP long-term structural performance evaluation is needed by collecting and evaluating samples from in-service structural components and systems for their thermo-mechanical property degradation. Such data along with life prediction models coupled with the laboratory-based accelerated aging data would allow accurate life cycle assessment of FRPs.

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Final Report


High resolution versions are available upon request to