New NSERC Industrial Research Chair at Sherbrooke University will tackle problems presented by Canada's ageing roads and bridges
Sherbrooke, le 9 juin 2000 – Dr. Gilbert Normand, Secretary of State (Science, Research and Development), today announced at the University of Sherbrooke the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Composite Reinforcement for Concrete Infrastructures which NSERC has funded with $625,000.
The ageing and deterioration of Canada's concrete structures (bridges, parking garages, ports), many of which were built decades ago, is a major social problem. Steel reinforced concrete has been particularly vulnerable to corrosion.
Gilbert Normand, Secretary of State (Science, Research and Development) said, "We have a need to find strong, non-corrosive composite materials which can resist a range of assaults by the weather, de-icing salts and, of course, by our ever growing weight of highway vehicles and traffic."
One way of lessening the persistent corrosion problem of steel is by replacing it, in repairs and new construction, with synthetic materials that have excellent durability even in extreme conditions. These materials have the potential to prolong the life of concrete structures and reduce maintenance to a minimum.
This Chairholder, Dr. Brahim Benmokrane, was central to the successful reconstruction of the Joffre Bridge which spans the St-François River in Sherbrooke. He and his team will address the development of the technology associated with the use of polymer composite reinforcing rods (rebars) as advanced reinforcing materials for concrete structures.
Dr. Benmokrane is responsible for bringing together funding from both the federal and provincial governments, as well as from four private sector companies: Pultrall Inc.; Roctest Ltd; Reichhold Chemicals Inc; and Teknika. The provincial government partners are the Ministère du transport du Québec and the Administration portuaire de Montréal.
Tom Brzustowski, President of NSERC (the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada), said: "The development of non-corrosive, lightweight yet extremely durable fibre-reinforced polymers for use in concrete will make a radical difference to the quality, longevity and maintenance costs of structures, such as our roads and bridges. Dr. Benmokrane is also to be congratulated for his success in recruiting such an impressive range of partners."
NSERC is the primary federal agency investing in people, discovery, and innovation. The Council supports both basic research through research grants and project research through partnerships of universities with industry. NSERC also supports the advanced training of highly qualified people in both areas.
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