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Civil Infrastructure Durability

Developing novel structural systems utilizing new hybrid, composite, and bio-enhanced thermoplastic materials that possess greater longevity and speed of construction.

Transportation Infrastructure Durability Center

Dr. Bill Davids, P.E
Dr. Bill Davids, P.E

Bodwell University Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dr. Eric N. Landis, P.E.
Dr. Eric N. Landis, P.E.

Frank M. Taylor Professor of Civil Engineering

James Bryce
James Bryce

Sr. Program Manager, Transportation Infrastructure Durability Center

Dr. Roberto Lopez-Anido, P.E.
Dr. Roberto Lopez-Anido, P.E.

Malcolm G. Long Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Dr. Bill Davids, P.E
Dr. Bill Davids, P.E

Bodwell University Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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    Thank you for contacting the Civil Infrastructure Durability team at the Advanced Structures & Composites Center. We look forward to working with you!

Research Overview

Research at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center is at the forefront of developing novel, corrosion-resistant, rapidly deployable structures and infrastructure components utilizing next-generation composite materials. The team also works closely with State Departments of Transportation to assess and enhance the longevity of existing infrastructure through bridge field testing, asset monitoring, and the characterization of construction materials. Additionally, researchers develop advanced analysis methods and software for bridge capacity estimation. With partners such as AIT Bridges and the Transportation Infrastructure Durability Center (TIDC), the ASCC is demonstrating these cutting-edge technologies in the field, improving transportation infrastructure in Maine, New England, and beyond. 

Moving forward we will continue to pursue projects in partnership with industry and government stakeholders to advance and deploy promising Center-developed technologies that are more sustainable, durable, and long-lasting.

The Transportation Infrastructure Durability Center (TIDC) is the 2018 US DOT Region 1 (New England) University Transportation Center (UTC) located at the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center. TIDC’s focus is on helping state DOTs extend life and improve the durability of their transportation assets through the development of new technologies, materials, and structures. TIDC has six member Universities within the New England Region.

Bridge in a Backpack: Composite Arch Bridge

The Composite Arch Bridge System, commonly known as Bridge-In-A-Backpack,  has been used in 28 bridges in the U.S. and beyond. This technology accelerates bridge construction time, reduces life cycle costs, and has received top industry recognition. It’s a lightweight, corrosion-resistant system for short to medium-span bridge construction that uses  FRP composite arch tubes as both reinforcement and formwork for cast-in-place concrete. The arches are easily transportable, rapidly deployable, and do not require the heavy equipment or large crews required for traditional construction materials. 

Composite Bridge Girders: GBeams

Fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) tub-girders (GBeams) were developed and patented at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center and licensed to AIT Bridges. Following rigorous testing to determine their strength and fatigue resistance, GBeams were first deployed in December 2020 for the construction of the Grist Mill Bridge on US Route 1A in Hampden, Maine. The GBeam technology is corrosion resistant and designed to last over 100 years with little to no maintenance. The composite girders weigh as little as one-quarter of an equivalent steel girder and are a promising, sustainable, low-cost alternative to steel and concrete that is easy to install.

The many benefits of the composite GBeam technology are attracting interest from Departments of Transportation across the U.S. The technology is already slated for use in bridge replacement projects in Washington, California, Florida, and Rhode Island. GBeams are fabricated by AIT Bridges and shipped to destinations nationwide.

Grist Mill Bridge Installation

Timelapse and drone footage from the installation of five GBeams at Grist Mill Bridge in Hampden, ME. Two pairs of girders were connected and installed with utilities prior to being lifted into the abutments. One girder spans 75′ and weighs about just under 10,000lbs.

Carbon Fiber Strand: Bridge Monitoring

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 the MaineDOT, the ASCC, and the TIDC. 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.

Advanced Infrastructure Technologies

As a privately held company licensed by the University of Maine to produce composite arch bridges, AIT Bridges is an engineering and manufacturing company that supplies advanced composite materials for bridges, while providing low-cost solutions to the aging and deteriorating transportation infrastructure industry. 

Bridge Assessment with MaineDOT

ASCC researchers and students have field-load-tested more than 30 bridges for the MaineDOT to more realistically determine their capacity. While conventional engineering analysis requires limiting truck weights and transportation restrictions, this testing has lifted these weight restrictions for approximately two-thirds of the tested bridges. Finite-element analysis software developed by ASCC researchers that more realistically predicts concrete slab bridge capacity has been adopted for use by the MaineDOT and consulting engineering firms, replacing the need to perform less accurate conventional analyses. A novel, nonlinear finite-element analysis method for assessing older T-beam bridges developed at the ASCC has been used to keep structures open and fully functional. Ultimately, this research has led to a significant reduction in bridge maintenance and repair costs and fewer travel limitations.

The Knickerbocker Bridge: Hybrid Composite Beams

Long-term durability of bridges is a major concern for transportation departments across the country. In response to this concern, the UMaine Composites Center validated a hybrid composite beam designed by HC Bridge Company, LLC, that was fabricated by Harbor Technologies in Brunswick, Maine. The hybrid composite beam, made of fiber-reinforced polymer, is lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and strong enough to be used for bridge construction. 

The Knickerbocker Bridge

The Knickerbocker Bridge, over Back River in Boothbay, ME, is the longest composite bridge in the world at 540 feet long and is 32-feet-wide. The bridge opened to traffic in 2011.