The awarded work is a result of a three-year collaborative development project between Joinlox and USQ, which developed and commercialised a new composite pile repair system made of a prefabricated fibre-reinforced polymer jacket, creating an innovative system for infrastructure rehabilitation.
Traditional composite repair systems, which are directly wrapped to the damaged structure, require a lot of site preparation, whereas this technology is quick to install due to its novel easy-fit, self-locking mechanical joining system. The design of the joint mimics the way a clam shell closes its hundreds of small filaments together, with precise ease and strength.
Following the development programme with USQ, Joinlox has now commercialised the technology under the trade name PileJax and it has been utilised in several bridge rehabilitation projects, including rail bridges across the Gold Coast canal system.
“This award is recognition of the hard work of USQ researchers and their continuous support of our company in better understanding our products, which led to the optimal and effective design of PileJax,” Joinlox CEO John Pettigrew says. “This award is also great exposure that will continue to push the awareness of PileJax in the market and help make the technology the preferred repair system in major rehabilitation projects.”
“This award recognises the innovativeness of research activities at USQ and our strong linkages with industries, which help bring our developed technologies from research laboratories to real-life applications,” notes CFM Director, Professor Peter Schubel. “The prefabricated composite jacket with an innovative joint is a very good example of this.”
The technology is a cost-effective repair system which can extend the life by decades of ageing pile-supported assets – a game changer for asset owners struggling with infrastructure that is near end-of-life or damaged by severe weather events. With its easy-fit mechanical jointing system, the technology is lightweight, and fast and easy to install. It is also non-corrosive and highly durable.
The awarded prefabricated composite jacket technology has a wide market potential. In Australia alone, the majority of the 12,000 concrete bridges managed by road authorities, especially those built in aggressive environments, start to deteriorate after 30 years of service. More than 56,000 bridges in the US are now rated as structurally deficient with the estimated amount to fix them at a staggering US$123 billion. Applying this technology could extend the service life of these critical infrastructures by decades at a fraction of the cost.