Pavement made of carbon-reinforced concrete for bridges

The Remstal valley is a roughly 80 km long river valley situated east of Stuttgart. The first intercommunal garden show took place between May and October 2019. In this connection, three pedestrian and cycle bridges were erected in an integral bridge design in the municipalities of Urbach and Weinstadt. In this case, integral means that a wooden bridge body is monolithically connected to the concrete abutments.

The clear width of the bridge span is between 16 and 38 m. Although wood was the material initially favored as pavement, the planners ultimately decided to realize the three bridges with a totally different construction material: carbon-reinforced concrete.


Innovation in every detail

The concrete used is not, as otherwise usual, reinforced with steel, but carbon. This entails numerous benefits. The advantages of carbon-reinforced concrete compared to wood: In case of rain, for example, wood will be slippery. The surface of carbon-reinforced concrete, on contrary, remains slip-resistant. And wood absorbs moisture in wet weather, what is not true for carbon-reinforced concrete.

The advantages of carbon-reinforced concrete as against conventionally reinforced concrete: Unlike steel, carbon does not corrode. As a consequence, the concrete cover can be much thinner, which also reduces the weight of the individual elements. Along with the up to six times higher strength in comparison to reinforcing steel, this innovative construction material offers new design options as regards the planning of slender elements.


Good advice and cooperation

In order to get good advice on the subject of carbon-reinforced concrete and to get the construction material required for this purpose in the highest possible quality, the planners contacted the Solidian company. The company has specialized in the subject of textile-reinforced concrete and has already provided helpful support to the engineers in other projects. They specified together that the walkway layer shall be installed in the form of precast concrete elements. Furthermore, they determined that the precast concrete elements should be 2.40 m wide and 8.00 m long, but only 7 cm thick.

They also decided to use Solidian GRID, a carbon grid (Q95/95-CCE-38) impregnated with epoxy resin, as reinforcement for the slabs. The manufacturer offers this product in the maximum dimensions of 1.2 m x 5.0 m or in roll form, and they are flexible concerning the openings, fully responding to requirements of the customer. In addition, Solidian manufactures three-dimensionally shaped reinforcements, which they perfectly adapt to the customer‘s requests. This solution was also used for the bridge in the Remstal valley.


Approval on a case-by-case basis

As carbon-reinforced concrete is not covered by the introduced technical construction regulations and has not been granted a national technical approval, an approval on a case-by-case basis is necessary (for the time being). The staff of Solidian also assisted the engineers in Stuttgart in this connection. Hence, the persons responsible were even able to obtain the approval just on the basis of empirical values and existing design models, with the expert opinions of the Institute of Concrete Structures at the RWTH Aachen University being very helpful here.

It was not necessary to carry out tests – which is unique in Germany so far. This saved costs and shortened the time required for obtaining the approval. The service life of the bridge near Stuttgart can be estimated at about 80 years. Thus, the residents and tourists of the Remstal region will be able to use it for a very long time.

Text: Dipl.-Ing. Claudia El


Solidian GmbH
Sigmaringer Straße 150
72458 Albstadt/Germany
+49 7431 10-3135

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