Bridges are the most important parts of our life. Every day we cross small or long bridges while travelling with our transport vehicles. In old days bridges were constructed by using bricks and cement mortar or lime mortar. Now a day’s long and short bridges are constructed by using reinforced cement concrete in which. The bridge of 21st century won’t be made of steel and concrete, but of strong, lightweight materials equipped with electronic and optical sensors that warn engineers of any potential structural problems.
The professors and students from a variety of engineering disciplines are building a prototype of their bridges on the University of Missouri- Rolla campus. After testing the prototype, they plan to work with the Missouri Department of transportation and Lemay Center for Composite Technology in St. Louis County to design three similar bridges in Wellston, Mo. The Wellston bridge will be used for automotive traffic.
The new bridge will be built of a fiber-reinforced material that is manufactured at the Lemay Center for composite Technology in St. Louis supported by the office of Naval Research. The material consists of glass and graphite fibers in a polymer matrix, and in lighter, stronger and more durable than concrete and steel.
The bridge will also be equipped with fiber-optic sensors- the smart part of the structure- that will allow researchers to monitor how well the material holds up under foot traffic.