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Committee Proposes Uniform Testing for Composites Used in Critical Marine and Civil Engineering Applications

A standard on ballot at ASTM International proposes a new “Test Method for Tensile Properties of Continuous Polymer Matrix Composite Tendons and Rods.”

“Polymer-matrix composite tendons and rods are suitable for reinforcing or prestressing concrete as well as recycled plastic members used in both civil engineering and marine applications,” said Abdul-Hamid Zureick, professor of Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Materials at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. “However there is scarcity of information concerning not only their material properties but also the test methods that need be adopted for reliable characterization.

“Researchers, manufacturers, government agencies and everyone dealing with these materials conduct different test methods and protocols,” Zureick said. “There is not a consistent basis for testing and reporting test data for use by the engineering community.” Structural and material engineers working with Zureick and other academicians in ASTM Committee D30 on Composite Materials, proposed the method to establish testing uniformity. “That’s the driving force,” he said.

The composite tendons and bars reinforce concrete structures in civil and marine applications. They have been used extensively to reinforce recycled plastic members in marine-pilings. “Inconsistent test protocols and data reporting will delay the implementation of these innovative products in all applications,” Zureick explained. “There is a clear urgency to develop design properties based on reliable and repeatable methods,” he explained. “If you are using different tests it becomes extremely expensive on behalf of every organization to generate the required data for the analysis and design, based on adequate statistics. So we need to eliminate that parameter completely.”

While developing the test method, the group considered input from designers, manufacturers, and agencies such as the U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology, U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the State of Georgia Department of Transportation. “What we’re trying to do is bring all different parties into just one game, basically,” Zureick said.

The test method is based on over 10 years of research sponsored by the FHWA, and the National Science Foundation supporting new technologies for infrastructure applications.

Direct technical inquiries or comments to Abdul-Hamid Zureick, School of Civil Engineering, Georgia Technical Institute, Atlanta (phone: 404/894-2294). Committee D30 meets Oct. 23-25 at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., in conjunction with the American Society of Composites. For meeting or membership details, contact James Olshefsky, manager, ASTM Technical Committees (phone: 610/832-9714). //

Copyright 2002, ASTM