ARCHIVED – Protecting critical concrete infrastructure against extreme shocks v15n1-10

Volume 15, Number 1, March 2010

Archived Content

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The effect of extreme shocks on critical public infrastructure induced by heavy truck impact or blasts is a growing concern. Effective protection systems to ensure the safety and security of the public need to be developed to address this problem.

The NRC Institute for Research in Construction (NRC-IRC) has embarked on a new four-year research project designed to strengthen and enhance concrete bridge structures. It will focus on the use of advanced fibre-reinforced polymers (FRPs) to protect critical concrete infrastructure against extreme shocks.

The study is part of the NRC's cross-institute Advanced Materials Initiative in concert with partners that include the NRC Industrial Materials Institute, NRC Institute for Aerospace Research, and the University of Ottawa.

The proposed new system will help concrete infrastructure absorb the considerable impact induced by extreme shocks over a short period of time. It will distribute any concentrated impact across the infrastructure, thus reducing the damage. The system will increase the robustness of critical infrastructure components and reduce their risk of failure when subjected to a heavy truck impact or blast.

The focus will be on critical concrete columns that will be protected from the outside using thermoplastic FRP and shock-absorbing materials. Recent cost reductions make FRPs more economically viable as construction materials.

Optimization of the design and performance of concrete columns under extreme shocks will be developed using a multi-scale modeling approach. Research will involve computer modeling and lab testing to simulate the behavior of protected concrete columns under impact and blast loads, and assess the structural efficiency of the proposed protection system.

For specific questions or interest in partnership for the project, contact Dr. Husham Almansour at 613-993-0129 or e-mail husham.almansour@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca.