Tough as Steel, But with Cracks in the Foundation

Large Bridge with Urban Infrastructure

The strength and durability of steel have made it a choice material for bridge construction for over a century. The corrosive properties of steel have also made it a material that presents challenges in bridge construction, and a reason why contractors are looking increasingly toward composites to address its shortcomings when it comes to sustainability and long-term cost-effectiveness.

There are bridges all over the world that are in poor condition and in need of rehabilitation. Corrosion is a major factor of this, and is caused by environmental conditions, including saltwater, wind, ice, snow, and sand that can all corrode steel enforcement.

Enter carbon fiber

Corrosion resistance is one of the many benefits of composite materials, and this is especially true of carbon fiber. It does not corrode under the same weather conditions as steel, which makes it a viable alternative to replacing traditional steel with carbon fiber materials.

Structures using carbon fiber reap the benefits of its lightweight properties and high tensile strength, as well as its ability to withstand high temperatures. Contractors have realized over time that carbon fiber used in the construction of bridges means the structures are more durable and stronger over time. Savings can be realized in the long term with longer life expectancies and often lower manufacturing costs due to the flexibility of its production methods.

To rebuild and to build new

With its many benefits, carbon fiber has become more widely used in the infrastructure industry including the repair of bridges and other concrete structures. Carbon fiber can be used to increase load capacity for concrete floors and beams of current structures.

Contractors are now beginning to recognize the benefits of carbon fiber beyond just rehabilitation purposes and using it in new bridge construction projects. Carbon Fiber can help extend the life expectancy of bridges. Building a bridge with carbon fiber reinforced polymers offers advantages such as shorter construction times, less maintenance and operational costs, superior durability with longer life expectancy, and of course, unparalleled corrosion resistance.

Read more about the advantages of carbon fiber from Composites One that are making it a widely adopted building material in infrastructure and construction.