A Composite Future

By Barbara Gutierrez

A Composite Future

By Barbara Gutierrez
University of Miami researchers unveil a new corrosion-resistant bridge made without a drop of steel.

Across the country, billions of dollars is spent by federal and state governments on maintaining a deteriorating infrastructure of highway bridges that are crumbling due to exposure to salt and water.

In addition to the cost, these failing bridges are a public safety hazard to the millions of motorists and pedestrians who traverse the expanses daily.

The University of Miami’s College of Engineering has designed and helped build a bridge on its Coral Gables campus using cutting-edge materials to combat the corrosive effects of salt and water – particularly important to coastal areas of the country that will be impacted by rising seas due to climate change.

The 70-foot-long pedestrian bridge, dubbed the “Innovation Bridge”, was built without a slice of steel, making it resistant to corrosion.

The composite materials that make up this bridge, however, make it durable against the elements, a useful feature in the face of climate change. The pre-fabricated materials are also lightweight and durable.

At UM, the bridge will help students gain access to the main campus from the athletic field. Away from campus, others have taken notice of this one-of-its-kind technology.

A community in Citrus County, on Florida’s west coast, already has called UM College of Engineering professors to implement the technology in one of its bridges.