Highway columns of glass or carbon fibre help structures meet and exceed building code requirements
Just how trustworthy are disintegrating columns that bulge and expose bent, rusting steel on elevated highways? "They are sitting ducks that, in an earthquake, could crumble," says Professor Shamim Sheikh of U of Ts Department of Civil Engineering. His team has devised a strong, cost-effective method of structural reinforcement that is already proving its worth on highways and other concrete structures around the Greater Toronto Area.
Currently, contractors repair highway columns by adding more concrete and steel to the structure. Sheikhs alternative, which uses glass or carbon fibre instead of steel, provides up to five times the strength of steel, helping structures meet and exceed the requirements of the current building codes. "It will extend the life of highways and give people precious extra seconds to get to safety during an earthquake," he says. "We think cities everywhere, particularly in earthquake zones, will benefit from this technique."
Nicolle Wahl | EurekLAlertt
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