Page 7 - NovDec2021 Vol39No5
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the total costs of a typical concrete bridge   of researchers to work with IACMI and   Tennessee projects was pictured on the
         and one using an FRP bridge deck. We   the bridge project team to equip the   May/June 2021 cover of Tennessee Public
         will share the case study framework   new FRP bridge deck with high-density   Works Magazine.
         and results with federal, state and local   fiber optic sensors and a state-of-the-art   That previous TDOT project called for
         officials, transportation departments and   wireless sensor module system. Working   multiple retaining walls in the widening
         the civil engineering community so FRP   together, this technology monitors the   of State Route 29 near Harriman. Neel-
         composites will be more of a ‘known’ to   composite bridge deck system while in   Shaffer’s William H. (Henry) Pate, P.E.,
         them,” Unser said.                  service.                             who designed those TDOT retaining
           Unser said the next-generation      The high-density fiber optic sensors   walls, then became Engineer of Record
         composites bridge deck design already has   and fiber Bragg grating sensors were   for this Morgan County composite bridge
         been tested in Oklahoma and Missouri,   developed by Luna Innovations    project.
         with those trials providing a greater   Incorporated, out of Roanoke, Virginia. A   Pate and the firm subsequently provided
         understanding of the bridge’s strength   single 10-meter sensor can provide strain   the Morgan County bridge project with
         properties and confidence in the long-  from mechanical loading or thermal/  civil and structural engineering and
         lasting, low-maintenance design.    hygroscopic loading from thousands of   other crucial expertise, including vital
           Dayakar Penumadu, the Fred N.     locations simultaneously with exceptional   project details and design regarding the
         Peebles Professor in the Tickle College   precision.                     composite bridge abutments and support
         of Engineering and Characterization   The bridge is being called a “smart   beams.
         Fellow for Materials and Processing group   bridge” by local road and Morgan County   “We pulled together a unique team
         for IACMI, said that lack of durability   officials because it has the sensors   of public-private partners to address a
         data “is one of the major barriers of the   embedded in the composite decking,   specific need that exists in many rural
         adoption of novel and advance materials   which generates data in real time, much   communities in Tennessee and across
         including carbon, basalt, or glass fiber   like a smartphone. The sensors were easy   the country: structurally deficient or
         reinforced polymeric composites in civil   to install while the two 8-by-25-foot deck   obsolete bridges,” said Jeff McCay, CEO
         infrastructure.”                    panels were pre-manufactured offsite, and   of Chattanooga, Tennessee–based CAG.
           “This is a major obstacle for integrating   those sensors then actually become part of   CAG was instrumental in getting the
         new materials and structures quickly, and   the structural component.    rural bridge project off the ground, and
         thus require successful demonstration   Wireless technology developed at UT is   the wheels began turning when McCay
         as being done through this IACMI    being utilized for monitoring the response   learned Morgan County officials were
         project,” Penumadu said. “Bridge decks   of the bridge system and traffic counts   looking for a highly durable, low-
         are the most damage-prone elements   remotely via cloud computing.       maintenance solution to replace the
         and we are integrating smart sensors   It Took A Village of Public-Private   bridge.
         distributed throughout the composite                                      He saw an opportunity to incorporate
         bridge deck that will provide us valuable   Interests                    composite bridge technology from
         performance data with time for years to   Early in the process, IACMI reached   Structural Composites and began
         come.”                              out to Neel-Schaffer,Inc. regarding   discussions with IACMI and UT, along
                                             preliminary aspects of the bridge    with in-state excavating contractor
         A “Smart Bridge” With Some Smartphone   requirements. The engineering, planning   McKinney Excavating Inc. of
         Capabilities                        and construction management firm has a   Athens. McKinney Excavating owner
           UT’s Fibers and Composites        strong commitment to local communities,   Brian McKinney welcomed the chance to
         Manufacturing Facility dedicated a team   and in fact, one of its recent East
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