Research Activities: 1998

Experimental Testing and Modeling of an FRP Box Culvert Bridge



View Report:


Sequential Number


Identification Number


Matching Research Agency

Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT)

Principal Investigator

K. Chandrashekhara, Professor
Mechanical & Aerospace & Engineering Mechanics
University of Missouri-Rolla
122-A ME Annex
Rolla, MO 65409
p(573) 341-4587
f(573) 341-6899

Student Involvement

Two (2) graduate students

Project Objective

To prove the feasibility of the design concept an experimental program will
be developed. The demonstration part of the project will consist of the construction of three box
culverts. Two will be tested to failure in the laboratory and the third will be installed at UMR.
The experimental results will be compared with the finite element solutions.

Project Abstract

To design and analyze a prototype bridge. The basic design of the bridge
is stacked layers of 3 in. X 3 in. hollow Fiber Reinforced Polymers (FRP) pultruded tubes. The
layered tubes form a box similar to the conventional Box Culvert. Based on the preliminary
design, the topside of the FRP culvert will have four layers of tubes. The sides and bottom layers
will have three layers of tubes. The bridge is designed for a standard HS25 loading and the
thickness of the topside of the culvert is determined to meet the deflection limitation of
AASHTO code.

Task Description

  1. Finite element molding.
  2. Experimental load-tests.
  3. Manufacturing of FRP tubes.
  4. Fiber optic monitoring system.
  5. Assembly and installation.

Anticipated Benefits

Should cause FRP bridges to have longer lives

Modal Orientation



Project Start Date:02/01/1999
Project End Date:06/30/1999

Relationship to other Research/Projects

Campus bridge project.

Technology Transfer Activities

Open market for FRP bridges in Missouri.

Transportation Research Board Keywords

Box culvert, FRP, bridge, and pultrusion.