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26th October 2018, Australia

Clamshell inspiration for pile repair system

A three-year collaborative development project between Joinlox and the Centre for Future Materials at the University of South Queensland in Australia resulted in the development and commercialisation of a new type of composite pile repair system.

It will receive the Infrastructure and Civil Engineering Innovation Award at the forthcoming JEC Asia show which takes place in in Seoul, South Korea, from November 14-16.

The new pile repair system is made of a prefabricated composite jacket with an innovative joining system for infrastructure rehabilitation.

The new pile repair system is made of a prefabricated composite jacket with an innovative joining system for infrastructure rehabilitation.

Compared to traditional composite repair systems, which are directly wrapped around the damaged structure and require a lot of site preparation, this technology is quick to install due to its easy-fit and self-locking mechanical joining system. The joining system comprises two rows of interlocking teeth that can easily fit into each other like a zipper, and a locking key to provide continuity of the composite repair system. The design of the joint mimics the way a clamshell closes its hundreds of small filaments together – with precision, ease and strength.

The prefabricated jacket is manufactured from E-glass fibres and vinyl ester resin using the filament winding method, while the joint is made of pultruded fibre-reinforced vinyl ester resin. The repair system works by wrapping the composite jacket around the damaged pile, aligning the interlocking teeth together, and placing the locking key vertically along the seam to lock the jacket, providing structural continuity.

This simple assembly process can be carried out underwater or alternatively above waterline. The complete assembly is then lowered in the water up to the required depth, and the annulus between the jacket and the pile is filled with water-displacing grout, producing a cylindrical confinement. Once installed, the jacket remains in place to protect and rehabilitate the pile and becomes an impermeable barrier to oxygen and water, stopping anything from getting into the pile.

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