Carbon Fiber Strand Testing

| Carbon fiber composite cable strands in the Penobscot Narrows cable-stayed bridge to increase the longevity of highway bridges


Using tools for measurement like fiber-optic strain sensors and temperature sensors, the ASCC has installed and monitored six carbon fiber composite strands on the Penobscot Narrows Bridge since 2007. These strands are high-strength and non-corrosive composite materials, which inherently last longer than traditionally used steel and result in cost savings. This research is ongoing between MaineDOT, the ASCC, and the Transportation Infrastructure Durability Center. As a “living structure,” researchers will monitor the technology to assess how the novel composite strands perform over time. The goal is to replace more strands in the coming years to continue the evaluation of this technology, the first application of its kind in the United States.


  • $50,000 from Maine DOT in 2013 for long-term monitoring 
  • Sponsored by Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, University Transportation Centers Program, Department of Transportation, and the University of Maine
  • A wind speed/direction sensor was purchased in 2021
  • Future plans include assessing the structural health system remotely and adding a weather station


Non-corrosive carbon fiber composite cable strands will increase the longevity of highway bridges

  • Composite strands installed in 2007 after testing in ASCC along with a modified anchoring system
  • Preliminary results suggest the cable response may not have changed since 2013. This is a positive sign, however much longer data sets are needed

The first application of its kind in the United States

  • The structural health monitoring system allows for the real-time capture of major CFCS force changes
  • MaineDOT is able to continuously monitor the long-term durability of CFCC strands in the Penobscot Narrows Bridge 
  • Wireless weather data can be used for ice detection in the right conditions

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