Researchers at New Mexico State University have begun large-scale testing of high-tech bridge girders that could help improve bridge strength and possibly double average lifespan. Andrew Giesler, a graduate student in civil engineering, is leading the team investigating ultra-high performance concrete bridge girders, under the direction of Brad Weldon, assistant professor of civil engineering.
According to a university press release:
"UHPC is significantly stronger in compression than normal strength concrete, and has strengths exceeding 22,000 pounds per square inch. The compressive strength of average concrete ranges from 4,000 to 6,000 psi. Currently no bridge design specifications for concrete of this strength exist in the United States. The unique material properties, along with the steel fibers that are included in the mixture, are not accounted for in the common design standards. Giesler hopes that through these large-scale tests, he will be able to present data that will aid in the development of new specifications for the design of UHPC bridges."