An industrial consortium will design, manufacture and field-test prototype civil bridges of polymer matrix composites in California and Delaware and further develop an Army assault bridge under a two-year Defense Department technology reinvestment project.
``We will use different processes for the two civil bridges,'' said Robert E. Randolph, president of Composites Structures Inc. in Salt Lake City, and the consortium's new administrator.
The University of California at San Diego and Alliant Techsystems Inc.'s composites structures division in Magna, Utah, will use filament-winding technology in building a 62-foot-long bridge that will carry traffic on realigned California Route 86 over the Kings Stormwater Canal, northwest of the Salton Sea in Riverside County.
San Diego-based bridge consulting firm J. Mueller International leads a proposal for a two- or three-span bridge to carry U.S. Route 13 traffic over an access ramp in New Castle, Del. Hardcore DuPont Composites LLC, based in New Castle, will use the Seeman Composite Resin Infusion Molding Process for the 61-foot-wide, 169-foot-long bridge; the University of Delaware in Newark will provide technical support and testing. Bridge owner Delaware River Bay Authority needs to approve the project.
DuPont Co.'s advanced material systems in Wilmington, Del., leads the project's military task with participation from both universities and United Defense LP of San Jose, Calif. That task, also using Scrimp, involves further development on a movable 46-foot-long composite Army bridge that can withstand the pounding of the 75-ton Abrams main battle tank.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency provided $9.1 million for the three demonstration projects with 48 percent allocated to the Army bridge. Consortium members match the funding.
``DARPA believes that lightweight, composite, assault bridges will have a significant impact on the mobility of Army tanks,'' said Steven G. Wax, acting assistant director in DARPA's defense sciences office. ``In addition, encouraging the growth of commercial applications for polymer matrix composites will have a direct payoff in the cost and availability of these materials for defense applications.''
The project began in 1994 with UCSD as consortium administrator. The agency and the consortium each provided $11 million for 12 tasks including the three ongoing activities.