2 Minutes with Brahim Benmokrane
March 14, 2012
The normal life span of vital Canadian infrastructure such as bridges, tunnels and parking garages could soon exceed 100 years, thanks to materials and technologies developed through a two-decade research partnership between the Université de Sherbrooke and Pultrall Inc.
Hello. My name is Brahim Benmokrane. I'm a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the Université de Sherbrooke, and I do research on composite reinforcing materials for concrete structures. Concrete has very strong resistance to compression, but very little resistance to traction, so for a concrete structure to withstand forces of traction, it must be reinforced. The reinforcing materials most commonly used nowadays are made of metal, but the salt used to melt ice on winter roads in Quebec and the rest of Canada unfortunately causes problems of corrosion for these materials.
My research group has come up with a solution that involves reinforcing concrete not with metal but with advanced composite materials that solve this problem of corrosion.
The technology that we have developed can be used in the design of highway infrastructures such as bridges, freeways and multi-storey parking garages. This technology lets us avoid the entire problem of corrosion. So by designing structures with a much longer service life, we can of course save considerable amounts of money while minimizing costs for maintenance and upkeep.
We can also avoid all the construction work that we now see all around Montréal and other major Canadian cities as well, which cause some fairly major detours because the bridges are closed for repair work. But with this technology we can avoid all these problems.
We also have this product that is manufactured here in Canada and that enabled this manufacturer to expand its operations. This technology is now being exported to a number of countries, which has allowed jobs to be created.