The premature structural deterioration that adversely affects the integrity and performance of critical public infrastructures such as roads and bridges are common engineering challenges in Canada. The vulnerability of these structures presents exorbitant budgeting to the federal and provincial governments and post threats to our human safety. But how do we retrofit for the future? Selecting remedial actions for the accelerated degrading infrastructure in Canada requires a comprehensive understanding of the causes and extent of the problems and the prediction of further deterioration.  

 

Deconstruction of the Champlain bridge after 57 years in service has presented the research world with a unique opportunity to investigate the performance of a viable approach of rehabilitating existing aging bridge structures using composites materials. My portion of the interdisciplinary research on the Champlain bridge focuses on understanding the condition and field performance of the FRP used to strengthen the bridge. The research aims to formulate models that can predict the long-term performance of other aging infrastructures retrofitted with FRP. To demonstrated the performance of the repair work on the bridge, detailed multi-scale testing of bridge elements combined with forensic analysis will be pursued. The study also reveals a customized variable angle test setup that can help confirm the effects of the loading direction on bond strength and establish correlations between different test methods. 

Providing knowledge critical to extending the integrity and the service life of other Crumbling Canadian infrastructure networks in similar environments is the main contribution of this work. Data and numerical models from this study will benefit the research community, infrastructural owners in Canada, and beyond. Our work will enable them to build better infrastructures for the future by improving the service lives, safety, resilience of new structures at a reduced cost.

My name is Issa Fowai, a Ph.D. student at the University of Ottawa. Here at uOttawa, I have this unique opportunity to be a part of a team researching the decommissioned Champlain bridge in Montreal, which was the busiest bridge in Canada before closing after nearly six decades in service. This project will combine both experimental and numerical analysis using the Finite Element Method. 

 

Prior to the University of Ottawa, I studied and worked in China for eleven years. I completed my Bachelor's and master of engineering degrees at Harbin Engineering University, China. Before my master's graduation, I carried out a short-term internship at SIIT Thammasat University, Thailand. My career ambition is to become a civil engineer with an emphasis on concrete structures and mechanics.

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