February 8, 2012
Dr. Khaled Sennah's research in reinforcing concrete holds up against a crashing semi truck
Civil engineering professor and chair Dr. Khaled Sennah is helping Ontario taxpayers save money.
His research investigates the use of glass fiber polymer (GFRP) bars to reinforce concrete bridge barriers instead of reinforcing steel bars that rust due to the use of de-icing salt on Canadian roads. The results of this project will assist in eliminating maintenance and replacement of deteriorated bridge barriers, elongating the surface life of the structure and resulting in significant savings of Ontario taxpayers' money spent on bridge infrastructure.
In December 2011, Dr. Sennah and his team conducted the second North American crash test at the Texas Transportation Institute. The test involved a 36,000-kilogram tractor trailer impacting a 40-metre long concrete barrier at a nominal speed. The test evaluated the strength of the barrier in containing and redirecting heavy vehicles. Evaluation was based on structural adequacy, occupant risk, and vehicle trajectory after collision. The results showed that the barrier contained and redirected the vehicle, that the vehicle remained upright during and after the collision event, and that no occupant compartment deformation occurred.
Based on the results of the first and second crash tests of Dr. Sennah's research, the Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO) developed the MTO Standard Drawing SS110-92 for PL-3 barriers reinforced with GFRP bars, for use in future Ontario construction contracts.