Timber Pile Repair with FRP
There are many reasons why piles or columns submerged in water may need repairs. Thanks to EPA's success in cleaning the waterways, marine borers and ship worms are coming back and literally eating away timber piles. General corrosion and deterioration with aging also causes decay in timber piles. Repairs of timber piles can be costly and time consuming. Rubber or glass jackets are common solutions used to date. These jackets offer little in the way of long term strengthening and repair for wooden piles.
These jackets often come in standard sizes, which results in excessive enlargement of the timber pile, making the repair unattractive. In addition, the over-sized jackets require too much resin or grout to fill the annular space; this adds weight and cost to the repair of timber piles. These jackets are also bulky and expensive to ship and store. Some owners reinforce their timber piles with concrete reinforcements; this is known as encasement. It will be only a matter of time before the concrete encasing the timber pile will suffers the same fate, namely begin to corrode and fall apart.
To overcome the above shortcomings, Professor Ehsani has invented the PileMedic™ system for repair of timber piles. PileMedic™ is a carbon or glass FRP laminate that is wrapped around the pile in the field to create a shell that is sealed in a variety of ways. The FRP laminate is lightweight, fits to your specifications, and submerged piles can be repaired with very little to no use of divers. So it not only strengthens and reinforces piles, but it can save significant cost on timber pile repair projects as well.
Perhaps the best testimony to the outstanding features and capabilities of PileMedic™ is that the US Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue Program have singled out PileMedic™ as the only system for fast repair of columns and piles that are damaged in a disaster such as hurricane, earthquake, terrorism, etc. The detailed instructions for how to install PileMedic™ carbon laminates are shown on pages 4-4 and 4-5 of the 7th edition of the Field Operations Guide (FOG) shown below. Please click here to see the document.
In the summer of 2013, Professor Ehsani and his team used the PileMedic™ system to repair and strengthen the historic Powder Point Bridge in Daxbury, Massachusetts. It is known to be the oldest and longest wooden bridge in the United States. Many of the timber piles were being eroded by ocean water. PileMedic™ was the ideal solution to renovate the deteriorating bridge support system and played a big role in preserving the landmark.
Similar to timber piles, timber utility poles become weak with aging and often break during storms, causing loss of electricity and phone service to customers and creating blackouts for neighborhoods. In collaboration with Tucson Electric Power (#TEP) we are testing a patent-pending system to repair these old timber utility poles in place. A video of these tests is available on the video section of this website for you to watch. This unique technology allows us to make a broken wooden pole stronger than a new steel pole!! This is an amazing achievement that allows the utility company to impose additional load on the pole, for example from new antennas or heavier power lines. All of these repairs can be performed while the line is fully energized and remains in service while the repairs are being performed.
We invite you to watch videos of our find installations on this site to become more familiar with how PileMedic™ can repair your timber piles.