Composites’ many advantages fuel new infrastructure investments
The future of the global market for composite materials has never looked brighter as advances in research, new design standards and government policies drive adoption of innovative materials in new infrastructure projects.
The many advantages of fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) and other composite materials – including durability, light weight and strength – are key to addressing many of the lifecycle and maintenance challenges related to aging infrastructure. It’s estimated that 30% of public bridges in the United States must be replaced or repaired because they are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
New legislation introduced in the United States Senate in August 2018 will help address the nation’s infrastructure deficit. The Innovative Materials for America’s Growth and Infrastructure Newly Expanded (IMAGINE) Act encourages the use of advanced FRP composites and techniques for rapid repair, upgrading, rehabilitation or replacement of highway, railway, waterway, bridge, building, pipeline and other structures. The act would create federal grant programs to help municipalities use innovative FRP composites to build, repair or extend the life of bridges as well as for water treatment and distribution infrastructure.
In addition to funding for municipal projects, the bill would promote research into new building materials and techniques through organizations such as the Centre for the Integration of Composites into Infrastructure (CICI). The act would also create a task force to examine the standards and methods used to approve materials for infrastructure projects.
Demand for composite engineering, asset management and quality assurance services will also continue to grow for everything from railway ties, bridges and pipelines to wind turbine blades and high-speed train cabs.
With our expertise in providing FRP engineering and inspection solutions, UTComp is here to help designers, construction and maintenance managers find the right solutions, including UltraAnalytix™ inspection, the only proven non-destructive, non-intrusive and reliable method for testing FRP and composite assets. Our services include:
- Specifications and Design – Completing design calculations and assessment for new FRP construction and updates to existing structures.
- Material Selection and Evaluation – Inspection, testing and evaluating fiberglass reinforced materials as well as expert failure analysis.
- Mechanical Integrity Programs – Determining the fitness for service of assets made from composite materials such as FRP.
- Quality Control and Risk Management