There is a growing need for designing and constructing innovative concrete bridges using FRP reinforcing bars as internal reinforcement to avoid the corrosion problems and high costs of maintenance and repair. For efficient use and to increase the lifetime of these bridges, it is important to develop efficient monitoring systems for such innovative structures. Fabry-Perot and Bragg fibre optic sensors (FOS) that can measure the strains and temperature are promising candidates for life-long health monitoring of these structures. This article reports laboratory and field performance of Fabry-Perot and Bragg FOS sensors as well as electrical strain gauges in static and dynamic strain monitoring in concrete bridge decks. The laboratory tests include tensile testing of glass FRP bars and testing of full-scale concrete bridge deck slabs reinforced with glass and carbon FRP bars under static and cyclic concentrated loads. The field tests include static and dynamic testing of two bridges reinforced with steel and glass FRP bars. The obtained strain results showed satisfactory agreement between the different gauges.
The extensive use of deicing salts in Canada during winter times is identified as the main reason behind the deterioration of highway bridges and parking garages. To fight this infrastructure crisis, Fibre Reinforced Polymers (FRP) has become a very attractive alternative to traditional reinforcing steel due to their non-corrosive nature and light weight. The replacement of steel with Glass FRP bars in bridge deck slabs has been extensively researched in the last few years. This paper presents the first efforts to implement these bars in two highway bridges in Quebec, Canada, and Vermont, USA. These projects are aimed to prove the feasibility of using GFRP bars in bridge construction. GFRP bars were used as reinforcement for parts of the deck slabs in the two bridges while traditional steel was used in the remaining parts. Fibre Optic Sensors (FOS) were used to measure strains in the concrete, reinforcing bars and steel girders. The sensors were surface mounted on the bars or steel girders using standard glue, or embedded in concrete. Static and dynamic testing of the bridges was done using loaded trucks placed for maximum stresses. The design, construction, testing, and results obtained from the bridges are briefly outlined in this paper. The results indicated the accuracy of the sensors and their feasibility for bridge construction and remote monitoring.