On the 29th July 2021, ECSL were awarded Phase 2 funding by Innovate 4 Rail to allow them to continue their research project advancing the development of Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) bridges.
The use and development of FRP bridges ties in with the UK Government’s de-carbonisation plan and aims to deliver a significant reduction in whole life costs, from fabrication to construction to maintenance.
Phase 1 focused on material properties for design, and Phase 2 will allow the team to undertake destructive testing on a range of connection details, look at cyclical fatigue loading and investigate different forms of connection.
The Phase 2 research will last around 3-6 months and encompass around 125hrs of University of Derby support. In combination with a de-carbonisation grant, the research will enable us to build a full-size replica of parts of the bridge and undertake destructive testing. This information will be cycled back into the design as well as informing fabrication techniques and help improve and/or verify the Graitec Advanced Design modelling software.
ECSL have been working alongside a core team of contractors, including Taziker Industrial, and suppliers such as Plura Innovations to develop a complete modular footbridge package and are currently in talks with clients both in the UK and India.
Dr Dave Gent, Head of Bridges and Structures, said of the award:
“I feel very fortunate that we’ve been awarded this funding to progress the development of FRP bridges, which I see as integral to the UK’s de-carbonisation plans. As a specialist in historic bridges, I feel like we are very much walking the same path of trial and error, research and development as those engineers who first developed wrought iron bridges. It is exciting to find out just how far we can push this technology.”