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Michigan Dot Using Carbon Fiber to Reinforce Bridge Components on Major Projects

Release Date: January 11, 2022

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) says the agency is continuing to pioneer the use of carbon fiber to reinforce bridge components on major projects.

The department said in a news release that since 2001, MDOT has been collaborating with Lawrence Technological University (LTU) in Southfield on researching carbon fiber reinforced polymer materials in concrete bridge beams. That research has moved from the lab into the field, with projects now being deployed.

"The aim is bridges that last a century with minimal maintenance," State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba said in a statement. "This technology, developed here in Michigan, is becoming wildly popular all over the country." 

MDOT says steel has been the go-to material for prestressing concrete for highway bridges, but it is prone to corrosion and deterioration under assault from extreme temperatures, water, and deicing chemicals—conditions all too common in Michigan. Carbon fiber strands have a tensile strength comparable to steel, but they resist corrosion and require less maintenance over time. Longer service life is the major benefit of carbon fiber, according to MDOT.

Learn more about this project at Roads&Bridges.com.

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