Composite Patch Repair for Marine and Civil Engineering Infrastructure Applications

The basic concept of the present work is the definition of a new effective repair and/or reinforcement method for large steel structures with defects. Two basic steel structural types will be dealt with in this work, namely marine structures (mainly ships) and steel civil engineering structures (e.g. bridges). Many of the major problems that these structures face during their operational life are common, with fatigue playing a predominant role among them. 

The objective of the CO-PATCH project is to demonstrate to all stakeholders that composite patch repairs or reinforcements can be environmentally stable and therefore, that they can be used as permanent repair measures on steel marine structures and steel civil engineering infrastructure applications. This objective will be achieved by:
 Studying and demonstrating through theoretical analyses, numerical simulations and experimental testing that the use of fibre reinforced composite patch repairs leads to the reinforcement of a steel structural member, either by increasing its load carrying capacity, or, in the case of a defected structural member (e.g. cracked, buckled or corroded), by reinstating its structural integrity.
 Establishing a stakeholders forum to discuss and agree the business and regulatory implications of introducing composite patch repairs.
 Determining, evaluating and quantifying the efficiency of composite patch reinforcements in the marine/bridge environment, in both the short and long term, via an understanding of material degradation modes and their impact on mechanical properties and structural integrity of the steel-to-composite system.
 Developing proper numerical modelling procedures for modelling a composite patch reinforced structure and by drawing out general guidelines for performing such numerical simulations.
 Developing a generalized procedure for the design of composite patch reinforcements in steel marine and civil engineering infrastructure applications, leading to the selection of the proper surface preparation techniques, adhesives, reinforcing composite material, configuration (number of layers, stacking sequence), geometry of the reinforcement, etc.

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