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Maintenance-free concrete bridge design unveiled

A pedestrian bridge has been designed for a North Geelong park which uses a new type of reinforced concrete that is maintenance-free.

A pedestrian bridge has been designed for a North Geelong park which uses a new type of reinforced concrete that requires no maintenance.

Researchers from Deakin University designed the bridge, which will be made from sustainable concrete with carbon and glass fibre reinforcement, expect the structure to be maintenance-free over its 100 year life span.

Engineering firm Austeng won the tender to build two pedestrian bridges for the City of Greater Geelong, which the researchers designed.

Dr. Mahbube Subhani and Dr. Kazem Ghabraie are behind the design.

Subhani said the new design would avoid the usual problem of corrosion that occurs in conventional steel reinforced concrete construction.

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“We have replaced the steel reinforcing bar normally used in steel reinforced concrete with more durable carbon and glass fibre reinforced polymer,” Subhani said.

“Structures made with steel reinforced concrete require maintenance about every five years and major maintenance or rehabilitation every 20 years.

“This bridge should not require any maintenance for the whole of its design life.”

The researchers found carbon and glass fibre reinforced polymer to be stronger and five times lighter than reinforced steel, requiring much less energy to produce. Subhani said it uses just 25 per cent of the energy required to produce steel.

The beam was cast by geopolymer concrete manufacturer, Rocla, and pre-testing has already shown the bridge can successfully carry the design load.

The City Of Greater Geelong maintains about 160 recreational bridges and that number is growing through subdivision development. The bridge will be located over Cowies Creek at Deppeler Park.

Subhani and the design team hope that the environmentally sustainable maintenance-free bridge becomes a potential candidate for new and replacement bridges throughout the city.

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