Inflatable arch could speed bridge construction

02/23/2009 | Maine Public Broadcasting Network

University of Maine researchers have developed an inflatable arch that they say will make building municipal bridges faster and less expensive. Habib Dagher, director of the university's Advanced Structures and Composites Center, said the arch-shaped tube made of composites can be molded into a desired shape. When deflated, it is small enough to fit in a backpack. "It arrives to the site rolled up like that and you essentially inflate it at the site, then you put it over a mold. And then you infuse it with the resin, and overnight it becomes twice the strength of steel," explained Dagher. "And then you fill it full of concrete at the site."

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