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Institute of Chemical Engineering & High Temperature Chemical Processes (ICE-HT)
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  Title Design and construction of a bridge using polymeric composite materials
  Group Mechanics of materials lab, ICE-HT
  Researcher prof. Dr. C. Galiotis
  Abstract The scope of this particular research initiative was from the beginning the design; experimental study, construction and installation of a heavy - duty bridge, which would have been built using fiber - reinforced composite materials. The final product demonstrated was a pioneer for Greek technology, especially in subjects like the production of hollow composite beams using the pultrusion method. As a result the very important keypoint of opening the European market to construction applications produced using new materials and design methods is foreseen.
  Description One of the major problems facing structural engineering worldwide is the aging and severe deterioration of a very large number of motorway bridges. Extensive literature and market survey has revealed that this deterioration has been accelerated by a number of factors such as:
  • Corrosive environments
  • A 40% increase in the weight of motorway vehicles over the permitted design loads
  • Earthquakes and
  • The use of de-icing salts, particularly in cold-climate countries
Consequently, the use of new light-weight materials is of great interest in a universal level, because of their advantages concerning:
  • Low weight
  • High stiffness properties
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Antiseismic behaviour
  • Application of modular design method
  • Secure assembling - use of connections
  • Easy transportation, installation and maintenance
This technology appears innovative worldwide. The space - lattice structure is based on revolutionary design that the bridge and all its components assembled partially of smaller structural elements (modular design). The material used for the construction of the hollow beams was glass fiber - reinforced polyester, while for the connectors the designers decided to use stainless steel. The bridge can carry a maximum load of 30 ton as is described in the DIN1072 standard and is simply supported. Its dimensions are 12 m long and 4 m wide. This width corresponds to single - lane. The bridge is placed on six specially designed metal - elastomer support blocks upon reinforced concrete abutments. The beam dimensions are 156mm x 156mm cross sectional area and 13mm thickness and are of the greater that has been produced worldwide with this method. Also particularly important experience has been gained in assembling of light-weight structures, designed in a modular way that makes the structure adaptive to special needs like earthquakes, floods, military necessities, etc.

The project was funded by the Greek Ministry of Development and the General Secretariat of Research and Technology and started at November 1998.
Among others the exploitation of this technology is the aim of a spin-off named N.Y.KA, which is under constitution and where the main partners are FORTH-ICE/HT, PANTECHNIKI SA and CHRONIS SA.
Among the interests of the new company (N.Y.KA.) is the international collaboration in the field of the expansion of this design methodology concerning its improvement. For example, an improvement could be the replacement of the metallic connectors used in the composite bridge by plastic ones (manufactured using the same materials as the load carrying parts).
  Current development phase The bridge has passed successfully all necessary tests and is available for demonstration. Its installation took place at the autumn of 2001 in a specially shaped site at Patras Science Park (PSP).
  Intellectual property rights: For the design methodology, FORTH-ICE/HT has been granted a National Patent in Greece. Among the aims of the partners is to grant also an International Patent.
  Type of collaboration sought Technical Co-operation, License agreement.