In good news for the construction and infrastructure sector, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (IITH) have developed a hybrid fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) solution that can extend the life of structures that have deteriorated due to factors like aging and corrosion.
The technique offers a cost-effective solution for increasing the longevity of old and aging structures like railway bridges, and multi-storey buildings.
Prof S. Suriya Prakasha's CASTCON Lab at the IITH has developed the innovative hybrid FRP strengthening technique for improving strength and ductility under different loading combinations.
"The hybrid FRP strengthening technique is a very efficient solution to improve the strength and ductility for the real scale structural elements of bridges and buildings. We have extensively carried out experiments to understand the size, shape, and slenderness effect on the behaviour of hybrid FRP strengthened elements for various loading scenarios. We are currently developing efficient analytical models for developing the design guidelines that practicing engineers could readily use," Prof Prakash said.
Instead of having to destroy aging structures and build anew, using the hybrid FRP material, government and private sector infrastructure players can easily reinforce bridges and offshore structures that are reaching the end of their lifespan.
In recent times, the civil engineering industry has gradually accepted FRP (fiber-reinforced polymer) composites to repair and rehabilitate concrete structures. FRP strengthening has numerous advantages over conventional strengthening methods such as concrete and steel jacketing due to its lesser weight to strength ratio, corrosive resistance, easy installation, and higher durability, an IITH statement noted.
Congratulating the research team on this innovative hybrid FRP strengthening solution, Prof B Murty, Director, IITH, added: "The preservation and extension of service life of the existing civil infrastructure are essential for fuelling our country's economic growth. At the same time, this innovation developed by Prof Suriya and his team leads to optimum utilisation of the strengthening materials. It is cost-effective for increasing the longevity of civil infrastructure. "