Friday, 02 January 2009

Hillman Composite Beam: A super-strong bridge beam

When John Hillman subjected his bridge beam to load tests, it handled a hydraulic press’s 145 tons of maximum force with ease. The Hillman Composite Beam (a winner of our 2008 Invention Awards) weighs one third as much as concrete competitors—saving 20 percent on shipping and installation costs—and can hold 50 percent more weight. The beam gets its strength from within. A concrete arch supports the weight above it, and a steel plate running lengthwise prevents the arch from collapsing. A plastic shell wards off corrosion. The first bridge built with the beams opened in August in Illinois. Next up: a 540-foot bridge in Maine, and licensing deals in Canada and Europe.

Source: Popular Science

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