Composite Materials Sought as Replacement for Steel and Concrete

March 3, 2002

In 1994, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration estimated that 230,000 of the nation’s 575,000 bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and they would require an expenditure of $130 billion in public funds in the coming years. Because steel and concrete decay cost the nation billions of dollars for repair and replacement, new technology that lengthened the functional lives and sped the repair of roadways and bridges was clearly needed. Composite materials held this promise. Strongwell Corporation, the world’s largest pultruder of fiber-reinforced structural parts, applied for and was awarded $2 million in cost shared funding from the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) to research and develop a process to manufacture large, fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite structures that could reduce the cost of maintaining the country’s existing civil infrastructure.

In 1994, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration estimated that 230,000 of the nation’s 575,000 bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and they would require an expenditure of $130 billion in public funds in the coming years.

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