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16th November 2018, Darling Heights

Joinlox and USQ technology receives innovation award

Joinlox and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) have received the JEC Asia 2018 Innovation Award under the category of Civil and Infrastructure Engineering for their developed technology on Easy fit and self-locking composite jacket for structures repair.

The awarded work is a result of a three-year collaborative development project between Joinlox and USQ, which developed and commercialised a new type of composite pile repair system made of a prefabricated fibre-reinforced polymer jacket creating an innovative joining system for infrastructure rehabilitation.

Accepting the JEC Asia Innovation Award are (from left) USQ researchers Gary Elks and Associate Professor Allan Manalo with Director of Smart Materials R&D Center at the Korea Automotive Technology Institute, Dr Mee-Hye Oh. © USQ

The traditional composite repair systems, which are directly wrapped to the damaged structure, require a lot of site preparation whereas this technology is quick to install due to its novel easy-fit and self-locking mechanical joining system. The design of the innovative joint mimics the way clam shells close its hundreds of small filaments together – with precise ease and strength.

Following the successful three-year collaborative development programme with USQ, Joinlox has now commercialised the technology under the trade name PileJax and it has been utilised in several bridge rehabilitation projects, including rail bridges across the Gold Coast canal system.

USQ’s Centre for Future Materials Director Professor Peter Schubel and Associate Professor Allan Manalo at JEC Asia 2018. © USQ

Joinlox CEO John Pettigrew was ecstatic to get recognition for the technology. “This award is recognition of the hard work of USQ researchers and their continuous support of our company in better understanding our products, which led to the optimal and effective design of PileJax,” he said. “This award is also great good exposure that will continue to push the awareness of PileJax in the market and help make the technology the preferred repair system in major rehabilitation projects.”

CFM Director Prof Peter Schubel praised the research team, led by Associate Professor Allan Manalo, for receiving such a prestigious award. “This award recognises the innovativeness of research activities at USQ and our strong linkages with industries, which help bring our developed technologies from research laboratories to real-life applications. The prefabricated composite jacket with an innovative joint is a very good example of this,” said Prof Schubel.

PileJax is a non-corrosive and highly durable technology that has since been used in several bridge rehabilitation projects, including rail bridges, across the Gold Coast canal system. © USQ

The technology is a cost-effective repair system, which can extend the life by decades of ageing pile-supported assets – a game changer for asset owners struggling with infrastructure that is near end-of-life or damaged by severe weather events, the partners explain. With an easy-fit and self-locking mechanical jointing system, the technology is lightweight, which makes it fast and easy to install. It is also non-corrosive and highly durable.

These unique features can only be achieved using composite materials as they are highly durable, lightweight, and high strength, according to the project participants. The awarded prefabricated composite jacket technology has a significant and wide market potential, they say.

In Australia alone, the majority of the 12,000 concrete bridges managed by road authorities, especially those built in aggressive environments, start to deteriorate only after 30 years of service. More than 56,000 bridges in the USA are now rated as structurally deficient with the estimated amount to fix them at a staggering US$ 123 billion.

Applying this technology could extend the service life of these critical infrastructures by decades at a fraction of the cost.

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