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Application of Composite Materials in Civil Engineering

The needs of the European construction sector to develop innovative construction materials and processes are motivated by the requirements of developing, or refurbishing, critical transport and energy infrastructures. New design and construction solutions are required to cope with the constraints imposed by congestion in (especially urban) transport infrastructure, which cannot be met using standard construction techniques. The ELSA Unit contributes to these activities by participating in collaborative projects funded at both at EU and National levels. ELSA is involved in the three main activities of structural engineering applications of composite materials.

  1. Experimental validation: where we provide unique testing facilities and expertise in order to conduct tests on large-scale specimens.
  2. Design and analysis of composite structures.
  3. Promote standardization of innovative materials in construction processes.

These three areas are, in broad terms, covered by the two projects PROMETEO and HP-FUTUREBRIDGE.


ELSA participates in PROMETEO by performing large structural tests on prototype construction elements. Our main objective was to test a full-scale 14-m bridge beam manufactured using a hybrid structural system combining fibre-reinforced composites with a reinforced concrete deck.

Example shown

The highway bridge on the M111 motorway (above right) connecting the north of Madrid to the recently opened T4 airport terminal was rapidly installed using hybrid, carbon/glass, fibre composite elements. ELSA will provide full scale verification of structural capacity.


The project is an activity under the action SAFECONSTRUCTION, Research in Support of Standardization in Construction and Construction Products


PROMETEO is a large project coordinated by ACCIONA Infraestructuras and is funded by the Spanish Government's CDTI Institute, within the context of the CENIT program.


Eugenio Gutiérrez
European Commission - Joint Research Centre
Institute For the Protection and Security of the Citizen
Tel. +39 0332 785711 - Fax +39 0332 789049