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Innovative Bridge Strengthening System
May 7, 2015   
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A Polish-Swiss project that aims to develop the world’s first bridge strengthening system using unanchored pre-stressed carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) laminates is in progress at the Lodz University of Technology’s Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Environmental Engineering.

The Innovative Structural Health Monitoring in Civil Engineering Infrastructure Sustainability (TULCOEMPA) project is interdisciplinary and combines construction technology with long-term monitoring of bridges in terms of their “structural health.” The project, which has been financed under a Polish-Swiss research program, began Oct. 1, 2011.

Before the new system was applied in practice on an existing bridge, the researchers conducted stress tests at the EMPA laboratory in Zurich on special replicas of structural bridge components.

The new strengthening method is innovative in that there are no anchors used at the ends of the pre-stressed carbon fiber reinforced polymer laminates. The method makes it possible to quickly and efficiently strengthen bridges without using conventional steel anchors that may be susceptible to damage and corrosion.

Two teams specializing in construction and advanced IT technology are working together on the project. The condition of the structure after reinforcement will be monitored using modern data acquisition systems and wireless networks. Special sensors will be used to measure any deformation or displacement in the structure, combined with a vehicle detection system based on the analysis of images, sound, vibrations, and electromagnetic field data.

The new method will reduce the time needed to strengthen a bridge. It will also reduce the risk of corrosion, including galvanic corrosion, which poses a danger to bridges.

The new method can also be used on other types of structures and buildings.

Department of Concrete Structures
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