Material testing, design & construction of a laboratory-scale FRP composite.
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Pedestrian loading on flexible structures such as footbridges, grandstands and lightweight floors is an area, which is receiving significant attention from the research community of late. One of the key parameters in determining the structural response is the frequency of the bridge. Separately, fibre reinforced polymers (FRP) (typically referred to as advanced composites) represent the greatest innovation in structural materials in the recent past. These materials offer advantages over traditional materials such as steel, concrete and timber, which include improved durability performance, flexibility of design, improved quality assurance in production, potential for use of recycled materials, etc. However, perhaps the most significant advantage for civil engineering structures is the increased strength to weight ratios offered in comparison to more traditional materials. These materials are growing in popularity in innovative structures and are gaining increasing acceptance among designers internationally. One of the major barriers to greater use is the lack of design guidance on the use of these materials in load-bearing structures. The authors are currently researching pedestrian-induced loading on flexible structures and also the use of advanced composite materials (ACMs) in construction. This paper describes the amalgamation of these two discrete research interests by detailing the material testing, design and construction of a unique, laboratory-scale FRP composite footbridge.
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