ERDC Hybrid Composite-Concrete Beam

March 26 2018

The Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works with the Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC) at the University of Maine on a variety of projects. The focus is on using thermoplastic materials for the development of a stiffened panel system for use in load bearing hybrid composite-concrete structures. Two graduate students Camerin M. Seigars (B.S. Mechanical Engineering) and Benjamin T. Smith (B.S. Civil Engineering) work together on this project as they work toward their master’s degrees with Prof. William Davids and Prof. Roberto Lopez-Anido as co-advisors.
The initial phase of this project was a literature review of thermoplastics and their variety of advantages in structural applications including recyclability, corrosion resistance, amenability to rapid manufacturing, impact resistance and high strength-to-weight ratio. The next phase was material characterization of two thermoplastic materials to build a basis for material selection for component-level specimens. Characterization was done with two thermoplastic materials: Elium acrylic, a two-part liquid thermoplastic resin, and polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETg) prepreg tapes.

The initial component-level specimens will be hybrid composite-concrete beams. Once the proof of concept is complete for this hybrid beam, more complex cross-sections will be investigated that take advantage of the ability to thermoform thermoplastic plates.

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