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High Performance (Cost Competitive, long-life and Low Maintenance) Composite Bridges for Rapid Infrastructure Renewal

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 HP-FUTUREBRIDGE and PROMETEO.


The overall objective of the project is the development of a new high performance and cost-effective construction concept for bridges (FUTURE-BRIDGE) based on the application of fibre-reinforced polymers (FRP) for rapid renewal and long-life service infrastructures.

Essential technical elements of the new concept are:

  • Deck and beams of hybrid FRP (Carbon - Glass / thermoset - thermoplastic) composites.
  • Multipurpose material use for design optimization: Dual use of FRP elements as both structural elements and assembly components (e.g. deployable arch systems).


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

FP6 Project No. TST5-CT-2006-031522. Thematic Priority 1.6. Sustainable Development, Global Change and ECOSYSTEMS under 1.6.2: Sustainable Surface Transport . Objective 2 «Advanced design and production techniques» under 2.6. Design and manufacture of new construction concepts for road, rail, waterborne and inter-modal infrastructures that are high quality, cost effective, energy efficient, low noise, safer, risk mitigating and low maintenance, and that promote rapid infrastructure renewal.

JRC budget 393,000 €.
Duration September,2006- September,2009.


  • Acciona Infrastructuras (ES)
  • Huntsman (DE)
  • JRC
  • Labein (ES)
  • Mikrosam (FYROM)
  • Mostostal (PL)
  • Municipality of Kamnik (SI)
  • University of Ljubljana (SI)
  • Van Wies (NE)
  • Vetrotex-St Gobain (FR)


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