While many maintenance tactics simply keep up with corroding pipes and bridge piles, a unique FRP solution repairs and strengthens them – and in a fraction of the time of traditional repair methods. ACMA member QuakeWrap’s patented solution recently repaired more than 250 piles on the Powder Point Bridge, the longest timber bridge in the world, within 24 hours.
After speaking about his unique repair designs at the 2014 International Bridge Conference, Mo Ehsani, president and CEO of QuakeWrap, spoke with Composites Manufacturing Interviews about how his FRP systems, including the InfinitPipe, help create stronger bridge piles and pipes.
At the 2014 International Bridge Conference, you presented two case studies on using FRP systems to repair and strengthen bridge piles. Can you discuss this FRP system?
Most technologies used today have basically been made out of two half shells that are pre-manufactured to size; they’re brought to the job site and connected together. None of the existing systems provide any structural strength in the pipe and the weak point in that system becomes that seam you have along the pipe. The other thing is you have to custom-order these things and there’s a lot of shipping associated with that. In contrast, we have developed a new system: Instead of having that vertical seam, we wrap the FRP continuously around the pipe. We design the number of wraps based on the strength required. When we’re done, we have a strong, seamless shell with the same strength 360 degrees around the pipe. By wrapping it all the way around we create an impervious jacket that stops moisture penetration and that stops the corrosion process.
How long did the repairs take on each bridge?
I would say we could repair a 10-foot pile in about two to three hours. One thing with this repair system is we can create the shell above the waterline, and then you just slide it down into its final position in the water, so it doesn’t need to be installed by divers.
Your workshop highlighted “cost effective” solutions – how much did your repairs on each bridge cost? In some cases, the initial cost is cheaper, but we realize in some cases our product is not the cheapest. But for those clients who want a long-term strengthening solution, this is a much better investment for them. For example, our jackets that we used in the Powder Point Bridge typically run in the range of $80-$100 per linear foot. The Brisbane bridge was a little more expensive because those are the pre-manufactured sheets. (According to Ehsani, pile repairs on the East Coast can cost $600-$700 per foot!)