The application of composites for the rehabilitation of concrete bridge infrastructure
This paper describes recent efforts at the Materials & Manufacturing Directorate of the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to demonstrate the feasibility of rehabilitating concrete beams in bridge
decks with fiber-reinforced composites. Early work in this program built on the success in Europe in repairing bridge beams by bonding thin composite plates to their lower surfaces. Materials and processes
were appropriately selected, validated with flexural tests on scaled-down and full-sized concrete beams and implemented in a vehicular bridge in the field. The durability of this rehabilitation scheme was
evaluated from actual exposure in service. From the results emerged a novel concept: the use of composite rods (instead of plates), embedded in longitudinal grooves in the lower face of the beam to improve
flexural strength and stiffness. In addition to improved affordability, convenience and performance, this approach provides the unique ability to rehabilitate deteriorated concrete beams, in service,
without the necessity of strengthening or otherwise preparing the concrete. The results demonstrate the viability of this repair scheme.