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Repairing and strengthening damaged bridge beams could be as easy as putting up wallpaper. Well, almost as easy if you use “CatStrong” Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer Rod Panels (CRP) developed at the University of Kentucky’s College of Engineering.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KyTC) District 6 in Covington teamed up with UK College of Engineering and are expected to attach CatStrong to repair and strengthen a damaged concrete bridge beam on KY 55 in Carroll County.
The reinforcing steel has rusted resulting in spalling of concrete cover. In addition to applying CatStrong to strengthen the beam in place of the damaged reinforcing bars, the repaired section of the beam will be wrapped in 3-directional carbon fabric.
Issam Harik, Raymond-Blythe Professor of Civil Engineering and Program Manager at the Kentucky Transportation Center at UK, is leading the team of researchers that developed the novel product, called “CatStrong CRP”, with funding by the Kentucky Science & Technology Corporation.
The panels are made with small diameter carbon fiber rods produced by Diversified Structural Composites in Erlanger, KY. Each panel is small enough and lightweight that a single worker can install it to repair or strengthen concrete members in bridges and buildings.
CatStrong CRP-070, which will be applied on the Carroll County Bridge, can resist 73,400 pounds of force per 1-ft wide section and weighs 2.64 ounces per square foot. In other words, one square foot of CatStrong CRP-070 can carry more than 444,000 times its own weight.
The first application of CatStrong, a “Kentucky Proud” Product, was carried out during the week of Sept. 19, 2011 on a bridge in Hart County, KY by personnel from the Kentucky Transportation Center.