Demonstration of Thermoplastic Composite I-Beam Design Bridge at Camp Mackall, NC: Final Report on Projects FY08-16 and FY09-31
ERDC-CERL CHAMPAIGN United States
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Bridges are essential to many military installations, especially in remote training areas. Like many of our nations infrastructure bridges, U.S. Army bridges are in critical need of maintenance and repair due to the combination of wear and tear and material degradation, especially the hundreds of wood timber bridges. Repair or replacement represents a major cost to the Army that could be minimized by using cost-competitive, longer-lasting bridges. This effort determined that the innovative use of thermoplastic materials was successful in engineering and constructing a new bridge design that could safely carry the same or greater loads, be virtually maintenance-free, and be cost competitive on a first-cost basis when compared to wood timber bridges. Both the initial load testing and long-term monitoring as well as the life-cycle economic analysis for this project validated the beneficial use of the innovative thermoplastic materials and I-beam design. Moreover, this work is the first recorded effort to construct and demonstrate that a thermoplastic composite bridge of any type can bear the load of a 71-ton 64 Mg Abrams tank. The results show that the design and materials achieved and surpassed their objectives, and they are recommended to be adopted on a widespread basis.
- Civil Engineering
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies