balsa, frp, composite, carbon, glass, fiber
The United States of America's Military, more specifically the Army, has since the late 1990's had a vested interest in the development of super-lightweight, portable, short-span composite bridge and decking components to replace aging heavy metal-alloy machine driven modular systems. The following study looks at the feasibility of using balsa wood as the structural core material in fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) wrapped hollow-core composites in short-span bridge applications. The balsa provides shear resistance and the FRP the flexural resistance, resulting in extremely high strength-to-weight and strength-to-depth ratios. Several scaled short span specimens were constructed and tested using a variety of fibers and resins. In addition, a calibrated finite element model (FEM) was developed using data acquired through testing. Of the 3 FRP-matrices tested (carbon-polyurethane, glass-polyurethane, and carbon-epoxy-resin), the carbon-epoxy-resin had the stiffest cross-section and highest ultimate load achieved, although the fiber did not have the highest elastic modulus and ultimate rupture strength of the constituent materials. The carbon-polyurethane fiber had the largest elastic modulus and ultimate strength, but due to construction difficulties did not perform as well as expected. The glass-polyurethane fiber had the lowest elastic modulus and ultimate load with high strain values and performed accordingly during specimen testing. Given the constraints of self-weight, section geometry, and deflection set forth for lightweight short-span portable bridging solutions, this study demonstrates that the balsa-FRP composite systems are viable solutions; in particular, when carbon fabric is paired with balsa cores.
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Master of Science in Civil Engineering (M.S.C.E.)
College of Engineering and Computer Science
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
O'Neill, Kevin, "Feasibility Study Of Lightweight High-strength Hollow Core Balsa-frp Composite Beams Under Flexure" (2010). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 4370.