Bridge Piling


Recent earthquakes have demonstrated the failure of bridge pilings worldwide and the economic and human losses that such failures can cause. In many cases, these structures are submerged in water, making the repairs more challenging. Conventional FRP products have been used to repair concrete bridge piling, but these products offer little help in repair and strengthening of timber or steel bridge piling.

The innovative PileMedic® system developed by Prof. Ehsani is a significant advance in the field of bridge piling repair and restoration. PileMedic® is comprised of sheets that are made by saturating carbon or glass fabrics and subjecting them to heat and pressure; the result is very thin (0.025 inch (0.7mm) sheets that are supplied in 4-ft (1.2m) wide x 300-ft (91m) long rolls. Depending on the type, the laminates are 2-4 times stronger than steel. In the field these sheets are cut to desired length and can be wrapped around a deteriorated bridge piling two or more turns to create a solid seamless shell that is filled with grout or resin. The shell provides significant confining pressure and keeps the moisture away from the bridge piling, thereby bringing the corrosion process to a near halt.

Larger bridge piers are particularly difficult to retrofit. Many of these structures are submerged in water and their large size makes the repairs challenging. A recent technique developed by QuakeWrap engineers is ideal for repair of these structures and makes use of FRP wet layup in combination with pre-manufactured lightweight FRP panels.

Recent studies by Texas DOT (for H-shape steel bridge piling), Nebraska Department of Roads (for timber bridge piling) and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for concrete bridge piling have demonstrated the effectiveness of this technology in strengthening deteriorated piles. QuakeWrap engineers will provide designs for retrofit of submerged piles that enhance axial, flexural and shear capacity of the pile. In all cases, the piles can be strengthened to levels far beyond the original undamaged pile. The sealed engineering drawings and calculations will be provided to the client.

Features & Benefits

Advantages of repair of bridge piling with PileMedic® include:

  • Repairs are applicable to all materials (steel, concrete, timber, etc.)
  • Can increase axial, shear and flexural capacity of piling
  • Repairs are ideal for submerged piling as well
  • Minimal increase in dimensions of the piling
  • Eliminates repair pf the concrete surface before strengthening
  • Repairs are fast with no disruption of service