The JEC Asia Innovation Award for the Infrastructure and Civil Engineering category, recognised technology that was the result of a three-year collaborative project between USQ and Joinlox, to develop and commercialise a new type of composite repair technology for infrastructure rehabilitation.
While traditional composite repair systems are directly wrapped to the damaged structure and require a lot of site preparation, this technology, known as PileJax, is quick and easy to install due to its novel easy-fit and self-locking mechanical joining system.
Led by Associate Professor Allan Manalo, the research team was able to develop a non-corrosive and highly durable technology that has since been used in several bridge rehabilitation projects, including rail bridges, across the Gold Coast canal system.
CFM Director, Professor Peter Schubel, said it was a prime example of USQ working with industry to understand problems facing the sector, and collaboratively developing new technologies that have a real impact on communities.
“This award recognises the innovativeness of research activities at USQ and our strong linkages with industries, which help bring our developed technologies from research laboratories to real-life applications,” Professor Schubel said.
Joinlox CEO, John Pettigrew, said he hoped the international exposure would help drive the technology to become the preferred repair system in major rehabilitation projects in future.
“This award is recognition of the hard work of USQ researchers and their continuous support of our company in better understanding our products, which led to the optimal and effective design of PileJax,” he said.
In Australia alone, the majority of the 12,000 concrete bridges managed by road authorities, especially those built in aggressive environments, start to deteriorate after only 30 years of service.
More than 56,000 bridges in the USA are now rated as structurally deficient and estimated will cost US$123 billion to fix.
USQ researchers hope PileJax will be able to extend the service life of critical infrastructures in Australia and around the world, at a fraction of the cost.
JEC is a global industry organisation dedicated to promoting composite materials.
USQ researchers Gary Elks and Associate Professor Allan Manalo with Director of Smart Materials R&D Center at the Korea Automotive Technology Institute, Dr Mee-Hye Oh.