Research and Development
Masonry Arch Bridges
In 1994, Bersche-Rolt entered into a joint development agreement with the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Bradford to carry out tests on brick arches, which showed that by reinforcing the soffit, or intrados, of an arch with steel strips the strength and in service performance of the arch could be significantly increased.
In addition to the work on arch bridges, further research has been carried out to investigate different arrangements of reinforcement and installation techniques to aid design and construction.
The research has shown that retro-reinforcement installed in the direction of the arch span (i.e. longitudinally), can increase the in-service performance of the arch and its strength by up to 50%, depending on the depth of fill, the geometry of the arch, the condition of the masonry and the amount of reinforcement. The provision of transverse reinforcement can also improve the load distribution characteristics and the robustness of the bridge.
Further testing has been carried out in order to:
- Identify the behaviour of the arch structure and how it interacts with the fill material before and after it has been reinforced.
- Identify the optimum arrangement of reinforcement and develop the equipment and techniques for the installation of the reinforcement.
- Minimise the environmental impact and to ensure that the highest possible standards of safety are achieved at all times
The research is carried out in an open manner with regular discussions with bridge owners and the information gained from the research is made available to practising bridge engineers through seminars and papers published in learned society journals, while patents are maintained in order to protect relevant inventions.
We understand that this ongoing programme of testing is unique in that it involves the construction of numerous arches and this enables the test engineer to understand and predict how a masonry arch will behave depending on the form of construction and type of loading.
Another research programme initiated by Bersche-Rolt deals with a number of reinforced brick panels. This is intended to provide information on the performance of a wide range of bricks and masonry constructed using lime and various strengths of sand cement mortars and then reinforced with stainless steel reinforcement.
Physical testing provides practical information about the behaviour of the steel and masonry when subjected to loads and the bond characteristics and strengths of these materials.
In 2004 a specific test was designed by engineers at the University of Bradford to check the Bersche-Rolt lintel complied with a design and performance requirement of the British Standard 5628 : Part 2.
The test information concluded that the Bersche-Rolt reinforcement did comply and the report was published in 2004. We believe that it is important that customers and other professional bodies who use or specify our products have access to our engineers report and are provided with the results of the test programmes.
Presentations and Seminars
As well as the work at the University of Bradford, the Bersche-Rolt technical manager gives in house talks at our Birmingham offices or on client’s premises. These sessions are CPD compliant, they include a slide show and can be tailored to suit the subject that most interests each audience.