The pier caps had undergone severe spalling and cracking and reinforcements were exposed in a number of locations. Vacuum assisted impregnation technique that is used for the fabrication of aerospace structural components, was utilized for the fabrication of a composite jacket to cover the pier caps and stop further deterioration. Commonly referred to as «vacuum bagging» in the aerospace industry, this method is known to result in consistent high quality FRP laminates.
This technique, rarely utilized in infrastructure applications, uses atmospheric pressure to remove air voids within the composite during lay-up and develops a strong bond between FRP layers. Excellent performance of fiberglass boats in marine environment for more than four decades provided the primary motivation for constructing fiberglass jackets to protect the pier caps.
P.N.Balaguru, Professor of Civil Engineering, Rutgers University.
RI DOT Research Project Manager Colin Franco.
In cooperation with Rhode Island Department of Transportation Bureau of Research And U. S. Department of transportation Federal Highway Administration.