Fracture-prone composites piles to replace timber ones at Virginia ferry terminal

Dayton Growing passenger traffic, larger ships and stricter environmental regulations have prompted ferry owners to consider alternatives to fracture-prone timber pile dolphins.

The agency cited greater cost efficiencies due to FRP’s longer life cycle, reduced service interruptions and safer operation. In 2018 VDOT replaced 8 piles comprised of 37 timbers each with large-diameter FRP monopile dolphins. A total of 296 wooden pilings were reportedly replaced by FRP at one-third the lifecycle cost of wood.

According to Composite Advantage, FiberPILE products are fabricated to high strength-to-weight ratios capable of handling overall ferry crushing loads and adverse wind conditions.

Composite Advantage President Scott Reeve explains:

“We fabricated the 100-foot-long FRP monopiles with multiaxial E-glass reinforcement. 59 percent of the glass fibers used in the lower 80 percent of the pile were orientated at 0 degrees [parallel to the longitudinal axis of the pile]. Eight percent of the glass fibers were given a 90-degree orientation with the remaining fibers oriented at ±45 degrees. Glass fibers for the top 15 feet of the pile [focused on the hoop direction] were manufactured with eight percent at an orientation of 0-degree, [parallel to the longitudinal axis of the pile], 59 percent at an orientation of 90 degrees and the rest of the fibers were given an orientation of ±45 degrees. Wood has a 42 ft-kip energy absorption. This combination gives our monopiles an energy absorption of 585 ft-kip energy absorption.”

FiberPILE also boasts hollow construction, light weight and low driving friction. Following setup which took a day, contractors were reportedly able to drive a 100-foot monopile 25 feet into the river bottom in approximately 20 minutes with minimal disruption.

Companies: Composite Advantage

Industries: Marine Transportation and Shipbuilding

Terms: Business, News Worldwide

This article has been edited by Basalt.Today
This article has been written on JEC Composites Magazine
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