A new basalt composite material, developed by a team of graduate students, led by the University of Windsor professor Sreekanta Das (Canada), has been used in the rehabilitation of the Merrick Creek Bridge over the Detroit River.
The County of Essex and MEDA Engineering and Technical Services participated in developing the bridge rehabilitation project.
Civil and environmental engineering professor Sreekanta Das believes it will take five years to definitively prove whether a revolutionary construction material can provide a cheaper and greener solution to future concrete and steel rehabilitation projects.
In the lab, basalt composite worked perfect, the developers emphasize.
The Merrick Creek Bridge has been rehabilitated using basalt-based fiber mesh to strengthen concrete-clad spans.
MEDA president David Lawn said the new material is stronger and lasts longer than the carbon fibre-based material. And the mesh fabric material made of basalt is 30 to 40 per cent cheaper, he said.
This material is rock — it will last forever, – said David Lawn.
A novel construction material that is part of regular bridge rehabilitation is saving the county up to $25,000.
Strengthening the bridge parts where basalt fiber mesh is applied will help, among other things, to extend the period of time when further repairs are needed in the future.
Basalt composites and mineral fibers are increasingly used for bridge building and rehabilitation. For instance, the United States uses fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite materials for revitalizing bridge decks and superstructures. One of the latest projects is the use of fiber-reinforced plastic for strengthening the bridge over the Mississippi River.