Building bridges with fibre reinforced polymers (FRP)
Posted on 15/11/2018
Fibre reinforced polymers (FRP) are composite materials composed of a polymer matrix reinforced with fibres. Within the construction sector their use has tended to be limited to lightweight non-structural elements such as sanitary items and cladding.
However, the use of FRP composites as main structural members is now increasing and bridges made entirely of FRP composite are now being installed.
The UK Composites Strategy 2016 (Composite Leadership Forum, 2016) has estimated significant growth in the use of FRP composites for structural applications in the construction sector. Technological advancements such as nanotechnology have the potential to make FRP composites a much more attractive solution.
With this mind, Composites UK is launching a document ‘FRP Bridges – guidance for designers’ with CIRIA, at an event on 21st November 2018 in London. The guide aims help bridge engineers to understand FRP materials and how they can use them effectively in modern bridge construction.
The guide outlines the history of FRP bridges in the UK and presents some of the key learning points relating to FRP materials, the manufacturing process and the relevant design criteria. Sustainability is also addressed and recommendations are made.