New GRP profile for the infrastructure of tomorrow

02 April 2001

ASSET is the name of a new and revolutionary bridge profile made of composite material that is so strong it can replace reinforced concrete. A European consortium is behind the research and development of this latest GRP profile - a profile that may well become an integral part of tomorrow's infrastructure.
The new composite profile is developed by a EU Brite-Euram Project. This four-year research project started in 1998 and 8.9 million Euro has been invested in it. The European Commission has provided 50% of the funding.
""Our main task was to develop a durable decking material that could replace reinforced concrete. One of the requirements was that it should be possible to replace the decking quickly. The ASSET profile is made of glass fibre-reinforced polymer, and is far superior to reinforced concrete for many reasons,"" says Mr. Henrik Thoming, proprietor and founder of Fiberline Composites A/S, Denmark.
The Danish composites company, Fiberline, is to manufacture the ASSET profile (Advanced Structural System for Tomorrow's Infrastructure ), and is an important participant in the Brite-Euram Project. Fiberline has invested approx. 800.000 euro in the project. Reichhold has worked with Fiberline for many years and is providing the resin for the new bridge deck profiles.
""We manufacture the ASSET profiles using a pultrusion process. This ensures the best possible fibre content and uniform quality. It also makes it possible to manufacture profiles with a large cross-section and complex geometric shapes,"" says Henrik Thoming. ""They're ideal for the many bridges throughout Europe that have a span of five to twenty metres. Most of these are currently built of reinforced concrete and need repair within just a few years. With our profile, we can repair bridges fast, and that keeps hold-ups to a minimum. This is ASSET's biggest advantage. It can also be used for multi-storey car parks, jetties and helidecks. ""The first ASSET bridge will be built in Oxfordshire, England, in 2002, and will be able to carry 40-tonne vehicles.
In addition to Fiberline, there are six other European partners in the Brite-Euram Project. Mouchel, England, is the co-ordinator and leader ofthe project, responsible for design and specifications. Skanska, Sweden, is responsible for the overall physical solution, and is to build the bridge in Oxfordshire. HIM, from the Netherlands, is to develop the surface material for the deck profile. IETCC, Spain, is to provide test facilities and a large work site. KTH, Sweden, is to carry out the tests to check the properties of the materials, and is also to provide academic advice for fundamental research. And, finally, Oxfordshire County Council is to be home to the first ASSET bridge.

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