Composite Patch Repair for Marine and Civil Engineering Infrastructure Applications

05 March 2010

In January a consortium of 15 organizations from eight European countries kick started a European (FP7) funded project on Composite Patch Repair for Marine and Civil Engineering Infrastructure Applications, Co-Patch.

Co-Patch is a novel and potentially effective repair and/or reinforcement method for large steel structures. Two basic structural types will be dealt with, namely marine structures (mainly steel ships) and iron/steel civil engineering structures (e.g. bridges, transmission towers, etc.). It is hoped that the use of patches will significantly reduce the maintenance costs, and in the case of metallic bridges, prolong their design life and help address the consequences of increasing live loads. The proposed technology creates a new market and gives the partners the capability of providing high technology and high added value services worldwide.

Composite material patching is a very promising method for repairing and/or reinforcing metallic structures. Composite patching has proven its effectiveness and cost benefits in the aerospace industry for several years now. In aerospace applications, composite patches have been shown to prevent crack growth and extend the lifetime of the repaired structure. In this context, a composite patch works as a crack arrestor by decreasing the stress in the area of the crack tip. One of the aims of Co-Patch is to investigate whether this is also true for cracks in the marine and civil environments. Composite patching may also be considered in mitigating the effects of corrosion and loss of section.

Technical objectives

The main objectives are to demonstrate to all stakeholders that composite patch repairs or reinforcements can be environmentally stable and, therefore, that they can be used as a long term repair measures on steel marine structures and steel civil engineering infrastructure applications.

The proposed composite patch repair technology is said to be an innovative and highly competitive product that caters to the needs of marine vessels and civil engineering infrastructures, the latter in the form of steel bridges.

Co-Patch is intended to significantly reduce the maintenance costs of many large steel structures, and in the case of metallic bridges prolong their design life. The proposed technology creates a new market and it gives the partners the capability of providing high technology and high added value services worldwide, thus improving Europe’s competitiveness in specialized and advanced repair works.

The Co-Patch consortium is inviting interested stakeholders to follow the project activities, within the framework of a stakeholders’ forum.

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