How Composite Materials for Infrastructure Can Help Corrosion Mitigation Efforts

Nearly 200,000 bridges in the U.S. – one out of every three – were rated as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration. A large part of that is due to corrosion, which NACE International reported as a leading factor in bridge degradation.  In fact, corrosion in everything from waterways and ports to railroads cost $276 billion per year in 2002, or 3.1 percent of the nation’s GDP.


While the federal government is responsible for maintaining roads and bridges, its investment is less than two-thirds what is needed, not factoring in the cost of improvements. And with more than one-fourth of bridges 50 years or older, the task of maintaining the nation’s infrastructure appears unmanageable.


Composite materials provide an alternative to corrosion-prone steel

Composite materials like carbon fiber can help the Infrastructure industry with these corrosion mitigation efforts by providing an alternative to materials like steel, which can wear over time.

In 2017, the American Composites Manufacturers Association highlighted the use of composites in building, retrofitting and rehabilitating aging bridges. More than 500 bridges have been built with composites in the past 20 years, including the 186-foot Halls River Bridge in Homosassa, Florida. The group showed the difference first hand by placing a steel rebar and a fiberglass rebar in containers of saltwater. After 20 hours, the steel showed signs of corrosion; the fiberglass showed none.


Structures made from composites do not rust, corrode or deteriorate like traditional materials can, leading to a longer service life, tangible cost savings and greater safety.


Carbon and epoxy are the two most common composites used in infrastructure

Carbon fiber benefits from its lightweight properties and high tensile strength, as well as its resistance to corrosion and ability to withstand high temperatures.


Epoxy boasts similar strength and durability, chemical-resistance and performance, even in high temperatures. It can also be customized to the specifications of a project, with adjustable cure rates, water resistance and flexibility.


Composites One is the leading supplier of composite materials

Composites One is the leading supplier of composites and advanced composite material throughout North America. In industries like Infrastructure, we provide high-quality composite material that meets any project’s specifications. To learn more about our materials, contact our technical specialists today.