The Effects of Surface Condition and Long-Term Environmental Exposure on the Bond Between Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Polymers and Steel

Bridge engineers in Virginia are increasingly looking for innovative, yet cost-effective ways of repairing and maintaining the existing bridge inventory with sufficient capacity to carry legal loads. One option for deteriorated steel members is to use carbon fiber- reinforced polymers (CFRP). This research project will investigate whether the use of CFRP retrofits is feasible and cost effective based on several parameters, including the degree of base metal degradation and environmental exposure (e.g. moisture, chlorides). The environmental variables will be examined in both an accelerated laboratory test and in-situ field exposure to determine the accuracy of current accelerated testing. There will also be an economic analysis comparing this strengthening approach to other methods. The research will serve as a body of knowledge to help guide bridge engineers on when and where the use of CFRP retrofits is suitable for the strengthening steel bridges.