Ten years ago, after a lengthy period of being tested on bridges throughout the country, fiber-reinforced polymer composites—touted for their lightness, longevity and resistance to corrosion compared with traditional materials—seemed poised to enter the U.S. mainstream bridge-building market.
Ten years later, however, FRPs are still on the fringe. An entrenched business culture resis-tant to change, up-front costs and a lack of codes have been significant barriers to market entry. But thanks to recent developments in policy and research, advocates believe composites may—finally—be ready for prime time. Today, the increasing awareness of carbon footprints and the life-cycle maintenance benefits of fiber-reinforced polymers (FRPs), not to mention corroded bridges, have forced a second look at FRPs.