A Joint Success in Bridge Repair Using Composites

25 July 2017

A Joint Success in Bridge Repair Using Composites

The University of Southern Queensland’s (USQ) Centre for Future Materials (CFM) has partnered with Joinlox to investigate a prefabricated composite repair system with an easy-fit and self-locking mechanical joint called PileJax.

This system works by wrapping the composite jacket around the damaged pier or column, and placing the joint key vertically along the seam to lock the jacket producing a cylindrical confinement. This simple assembly process can be carried out both above and below water.

The funding received from the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s Research Connections programme has provided significant contribution to the successful implementation of the project. Through this funding, CFM researchers have completed the materials characterisation, structural testing of concrete columns and beams repaired with PileJax, and the finite element simulation and theoretical evaluation of the behaviour of timber and steel piles repaired with this composite system.

“Our successful partnership resulted in many applications of our PileJax products in repairing deteriorating bridges not only throughout Australia but also in international markets including the USA and Europe,” Joinlox CEO John Pettigrew says.

In one of the recent projects, the PileJax was utilised to rehabilitate a road bridge located at the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. The bridge was identified by Gold Coast City Council as needing repairs after sustaining damage through environmental factors since original construction. The composite jacket was chosen over other rehabilitation jackets for its cost saving, rapid fitment, safety, and ease of installation benefits. Each composite jacket section was installed and locked up within approximately 20 minutes, followed by a single pump operation for the full 7 m height. These attributes culminated in the successful installation and rehabilitation of the bridge piles with the approval of the asset owner, contractor and engineer.

“This technology was well received by the asset owners and the engineers, when we presented the project results at the Composites Australia conference at the Gold Coast in March 2017,” USQ lead researcher Dr Allan Manalo explains. “In fact, Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads is now considering the merits of this composite repair system in rehabilitating and protecting their maintained bridges.”

Photo provided by CFM

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