IPS adhesive specified for composite bridge beams

IPS' WELD-ON adhesive is used in a structural hybrid composite beam (HCB) that combines reinforced plastic composites, concrete and steel to produce bridge beams that are one-tenth the weight of steel, yet strong enough to carry railroad locomotives and freight cars.

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IPS Weld On Corp. (Durham, N.C., USA) reports that a new type of composite bridge beam relies on WELD-ON methacrylate adhesive to deliver extremely strong, reliable structural bonds while helping reduce material and labor costs for the manufacturer.

This structural hybrid composite beam (HCB) combines reinforced plastic composites, concrete and steel to produce bridge beams that are one-tenth the weight of steel, yet strong enough to carry railroad locomotives and freight cars.

The beam designer, John Hillman says his beams use composites, concrete and steel in their most efficient form, which acts as a tier-arch bridge encased in a fiberglass composite box. Hillman says the beams will last indefinitely.

WELD-ON SS230 HV structural two-component adhesive was used to bond a composite top to the concrete and steel filled composite beam "box." Beams are fabricated by Harbor Technologies (Brunswick, Maine, USA). Kristofer Grimnes, product development manager for Harbor Technologies, says several methyl methacrylate (MMA) adhesives were tested for this HCB application.

IPS' distributor, North American Composites (NAC, Lino Lakes, Minn., USA) told IPS that WELD-ON adhesive products have proven able to bond composites and that they would produce stronger, better bonds than the other adhesive system being contemplated. "But what we didn't realize was that by using WELD-ON adhesive and by switching over from our current labor intensive applicator to a bulk pneumatic meter mix dispensing system, our material costs would be reduced and our labor cost would go down," he says.

In addition, Grimnes points out that the minimal surface preparation requirements and the adjustable cure times of the two-component WELD-ON SS230 HV adhesive made the product very user-friendly. Another benefits is little or no odor during curing, he says.

The beams have already been used in several highway projects. Currently, Harbor Technologies has completed fabrication of 647, 70-foot-long beams that will be used on a 520-foot long causeway. Hillman received the 2010 Award of Excellence from Engineering News Record magazine for his patented HCB design.