National Concrete Solutions (NCS) were contracted by Infracon Group to provide Carbon Fibre Strengthening works on the Serviceton Railway Line Road Bridge at Beaufort. The works involved the surface preperation of abutment walls to accept laminates which are bonded to the concrete substrates using specialist adhesives. The bridge is being strengthened to accept High Mobility Vehicle masses under the National Regional Bridge Upgrade program.
The works required the services of an experienced applicator due to stringent application and quality control processes and standards required by VicRoads. This included selection of appropriate materials and installation in accordance with their installation guidelines also. Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymers (CFRP) are becoming more prevelent in the construction industry. Whilst materials are light weight and up to 8 times stronger than steel, installtion requires specialist knowledge, tools, equipment and testing in order for an installation to be successful.
Application of CFRP required temperatures, humidity and subrstrate moisture levels to be within VicRoads and manufacturer's guidelines, however weather conditions potentially hampered installation. To overcome weather and humidity in particular, NCS created an artificial environment by constructing a simple encapsulation system around the bridge abutments using timber, monarflex materials and industrial heaters. This allowed for application conditions to be created and for accurate recording of weather, environment and substrate conditions.
Weather, substrate moisture and temperatures are the biggest challenges faced in any CFRP installation. To overcome the challenges NCS encapsulated the abutment areas of the bridge and created an artificial environment by using industrial heaters. Surface substrates were dried and the required dew points and temperatures were achieved within the encapsulated areas to ensure an additional 25 year service life extension.