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The Kentucky Transportation Center’s research team has developed a new product called CatStrong CRP-X3. This innovative product consists of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer Rod Panels (CRP) that are bonded to existing reinforced and pre-stressed concrete bridge structural members that have become deficient. The goal of CatStrong CRP-X3 is to decrease bridge repair costs by reducing the number of labor hours typically required to retrofit concrete bridges.
CatStrong CRP-X3 is produced in the Structures Laboratory at the University of Kentucky. The research team, led by Program Manager Dr. Issam Harik, developed CatStrong CRP-X3 by using small diameter carbon fiber rods that are set on fiberglass mesh to form a sheet or panel. The “X3” in the title indicates the product strength level. A CatStrong CRP-195 panel can resist more than 195,000 pounds of tensile force per one foot wide section, while weighing only 6.84 ounces per square foot. One square foot of CatStrong CRP-195 provides a strength equivalent to a square foot of A36 steel that is 0.28 inch thick and weighs 183.2 ounces (more than 27 times the weight of CatStrong CRP-195).
CatStrong has been installed successfully on four bridges in Kentucky since 2011. During the application of CatStrong CRP-X3, roads remain open, and the impact on the traveling public is minimal.
“The objective is to reduce repair costs since it can be quickly applied by a single person, thus reducing the labor hours and the construction equipment needed for the job. CatStrong CRP-X3 panels are ideally suited for structures with limited access, such as bridges over a waterway or a deep ravine,” said Harik.
Damaged exterior reinforced concrete beam prior to CatStrong application