Biofiber-Reinforced Structural Composites for Use in Matting/Temporary Roadway Panels

Period of Performance: 02/26/2004 - 08/26/2004

$70K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Texas Research Institute Austin, Inc.
9063 Bee Caves Road Array
Austin, TX 78733
Principal Investigator

Abstract

The Army's goal of deploying faster and farther can potentially be met using biofiber reinforced degradable composites. Fully degradable structural composites require the use of high strength natural fibers, a degradable polymer matrix material compatible with the fibers, and excellent bond strength between the two. In this case, the application for the degradable composite is to assist military vehicles in climbing muddy inclines adjacent water crossings. This challenge requires knowledge and experience in 3 unique areas for a total solution to come to fruition: subgrade reinforcement for roadways, engineering using composite materials, and degradable polymer chemistry. TRI/Austin is unique in that all these areas of expertise can be found under one roof. TRI will use the expertise of its environmental division, which houses the world's first accredited geosynthetic testing facility, to develop the overall strategy required to provide roadway reinforcement functionality through the use of geosynthetics/organic erosion control product hybrids. TRI's mechanical engineering division will develop the composite material structure required to make up the selected reinforcement system. Finally, TRI's polymer materials science division will build on previous research to develop the best biofiber/matrix material system.