MONTREAL, Nov. 14, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Aluminium can be used as a primary structural component in bridge decks, bridge girders and cross bracing,
say the authors of a study on potential applications of aluminium that
was completed earlier this year for the Aluminium Association of
Dr. Scott Walbridge, P.Eng., of the Department of Civil and
Environmental Engineering at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, and
Alexandre de la Chevrotière, President of MAADI Group, an independent
Quebec-based engineering firm specializing in aluminium design and
fabrication, reviewed the metal's strengths and weaknesses in their
"Aluminium alloys have many advantages including low self-weight, high
corrosion resistance and extreme durability, not to mention their
aesthetic qualities," they write. "The most successful aluminium
applications optimize these advantages."
According to Walbridge and de la Chevrotière, these characteristics have
already helped aluminium make a breakthrough in work on existing
bridges, particularly deck replacement and widening projects and in
secondary structures such as pedestrian and bike path additions, street
light structures, road sign structures and restraint systems.
Call to key infrastructure players
"Aluminium has been used in the construction of road bridges for 80
years," said Jean Simard, President and CEO of the AAC. "It was first
considered for a bridge deck replacement project in Pittsburgh in 1933.
But the world's longest aluminium bridge - the Arvida Bridge - was
built in Saguenay, Quebec - in 1950. Since then, despite its clearly
demonstrated qualities, aluminium has remained highly under-used in
major bridge and overpass infrastructure projects.
"That is why we are encouraging architects, engineers and governments to
more seriously consider aluminium for the major infrastructure renewal
projects planned for Quebec over the coming decade. They should also
take into consideration the savings in structure maintenance unlocked
by using aluminium."
In their study, the two engineers noted the most common applications of
aluminium are in bridge deck replacement projects and in the
construction of pedestrian overpasses, lift and bascule bridges,
floating bridges and temporary bridges. They also say that many
projects have proved the feasibility of building road bridges entirely
The authors point out a number of the material's weaknesses and
disadvantages, such as its low elastic modulus, lower fatigue strength
compared to traditional steel and high initial cost. However, Walbridge
and de la Chevrotière say that these drawbacks can generally be
compensated for in the design, by using different welding techniques
and by selecting materials based on whole-life cost analysis.
The complete study is available on the ACC website, thealuminiumdialog.com.
SOURCE: Association de l'aluminium du Canada
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