Use of UHPC in Conjunction with Pneumatic Spray Application and Robotic for Repair and Strengthening of Culverts- Phase I

Project Information
Link to the Latest: September 2023 Progress Report

Many Culverts are in need of replacement or repair. Developing an approach for strengthening these structures without interrupting traffic, will greatly assist State DOTs. This project is Phase I of an initiative to develop a method and means for repair and strengthening of existing substandard culverts using UHPC and automation, through robots and utilizing pneumatic spray application in order to reduce the need for excessive labor and human intervention which will lead to an accelerated repair technique. Phase I is limited to developing information, identifying parameters and factors, needed consideration and developing the roadmap and paving the way to conduct future phases of the investigation

The scope of this project will be limited to understand the problem in detail and developing a roadmap for conducting systematic research in phases that could ultimately lead to the development of an effective and automated method for strengthening existing substandard culverts. Among the issues to be understood, before undertaking detail research in future phases are

  1. Major types of culverts that need to be strengthened. Concrete, steel, and aluminum culverts will be studied in terms of the bond between the culvert material and UHPC. The main target for this proposal will be concrete pipe culvert.
  2.  Identifying properties of UHPC needed for strengthening culverts. This should lead to the development of UHPC more suitable for culvert strengthening application and could reduce the cost
  3.  Identifying methods and means for field application of UHPC in the field that could involve pneumatic spray application and automation.

An overview of the study tasks is given below.

  • Task 1 – Identifying major culvert types needing strengthening
    • A project advisory panel will be established, consisting of States interested in the problem. This project advisory panel will be used to establish types of culverts that project should concentrate on. Concrete, steel, and aluminum culvert will be studied under this task
  • Task 2– Identifying properties of UHPC needed
    • A series of numerical analyses will be conducted to establish the structural properties of UHPC needed for strengthening the types of existing culverts. This can then be used to modifying the UHPC mix ABC-UTC has developed if it could result in cost saving. One aspect of UHPC that will need some changes is fiber type. The use of flexible synthetic fiber is more user-friendly for pneumatic spray applications along with exploring different UHPC mixtures such as JS1212 to reduce the material rebound.
  • Task 3– Identifying automated methods for field application
    • What we are envisioning at this point is a robot that moves along the culvert or pipe along the length of the culvert and rotates simultaneously, while pneumatically applying UHPC. Under this task detail of the robots needed will be envisioned.
  • Task 4– Developing roadmap
    • Under this task detail roadmap, in the form of a series of separate buy connected proposals will be developed to be undertaken in the future. These proposals will be proposed in future cycles of the ABC-UTC research program.

Research Team:
Principal Investigator: Dr. Atorod Azizinamini
Research Assistant: Muhammad Faheem Ud Din Afzal

Previous Progress Reports: