Long-term durability of glass-fiber reinforced composites in infrastructure applications

Kin Liao*, Robert I. Altkorn, Scott M. Milkovich, John M. Fildes, Jose Gomez, Carl R. Schultheisz, Donald L. Hunston, L. Catherine Brinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Pultruded glass-fiber-reinforced composite coupons and I-beams were subjected to four-point bend environmental fatigue, freezing and thawing, and salt spraying in the laboratory to study their long-term durability for infrastructure applications. Specimens have survived to over 10 million cycles under four-point bend fatigue at 30 percent of the flexural strength in air without showing signs of degradation. However, preliminary results suggest that water and salt solutions are detrimental to the life of the material during long-term fatigue. Freezing and thawing in 2 percent (by mass) NaCl in water solution resulted in a decrease in dynamic modulus, flexural modulus, flexural strength, and toughness of the composite. Spraying composite I-beams and hybrid I-beams having carbon fiber outer layers with salt solution for nearly 1,300 hours at 19°C has not changed their flexural moduli. Two composite structures in actual service were also monitored in addition to laboratory testing. Field data collected from an all-composite pedestrian bridge for over seven months does not suggest any change in its flexural modulus, and two composite walkway sections on a steel lift bridge have performed well in corrosion resistance since they were installed in November, 1995.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-63
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Advanced Materials
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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