Financial viability of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) bridges

Halvard E. Nystrom, Steve E. Watkins, Antonio Nanni, Susan Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

The application of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) technology to bridges can provide performance enhancements at a time when there is a large and growing need to replace aging bridges in the United States. However, construction costs are significantly higher than with traditional methods, and it is not clear if this technology can become competitive in the standard short-span bridge market. This study investigates current and future costs to determine how cost competitive this technology is likely to become, taking into account the expected improvements in manufacturing, transport, and installation, as well as life-cycle differences. Based on two demonstration FRP bridges and the learning curve approach, the results show that anticipated improvements would not be sufficient to compete on cost with reinforced-concrete bridges. Unless significant improvement also occurs in the cost of component material, this technology will not be cost competitive for the standard short-span bridge, and the application of FRP technology will be limited to other segments of the market, such as bridge deck construction and bridge repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-8
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Management in Engineering
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bridges
  • Composite
  • Cost analysis
  • Fiber reinforced plastics
  • Financial management
  • Life cycle cost

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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