ADOT hosts international presentation on innovative construction materials

PHOENIX – Steel rebar that strengthens concrete used in bridge construction can weaken from exposure to winter weather, requiring early replacement of bridge components. But using innovative materials can make bridges last longer and save money in the long term.

That was the message at an international presentation on innovative construction materials hosted by the Arizona Department of Transportation on June 22.

>Nabil Grace, dean and university distinguished professor at Lawrence Technical University, and Yoshiaki Yamamoto, deputy general manager of Japan-based Tokyo Rope, made the presentation to more than 50 engineers and state officials.

“Transportation departments have a responsibility to promote research and innovation to bring new technologies to the forefront,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski. “This is good for our economy and the taxpayers.”

The presentation encouraged engineers to consider using innovative materials that can make projects – and the government funds that often pay for them – go further, said Dr. Jean Nehme, director of Performance, Management and Research for ADOT.

“If we can be flexible and adopt new ideas, that can save taxpayer money in the long run by prolonging the useful life of the transportation infrastructure,” Nehme said.

Grace explained that rebar currently used to strengthen concrete can corrode when weather and de-icing materials create cracks in the concrete. Innovative carbon-fiber wires will not corrode and will therefore last longer, making them a better long-term investment despite a higher initial cost, he said.

Tokyo Rope was the first rope manufacturer in Japan when it opened in 1887. Since beginning to produce Kevlar rope in 1981, the company has developed rope using new fibers such as Technora, Vectran and Techmiron.