Applied Composite Materials

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 249–270 | Cite as

Design Optimization of Hybrid FRP/RC Bridge

  • Vasileios S. PapapetrouEmail author
  • Ali Y. Tamijani
  • Jeff Brown
  • Daewon Kim


The hybrid bridge consists of a Reinforced Concrete (RC) slab supported by U-shaped Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) girders. Previous studies on similar hybrid bridges constructed in the United States and Europe seem to substantiate these hybrid designs for lightweight, high strength, and durable highway bridge construction. In the current study, computational and optimization analyses were carried out to investigate six composite material systems consisting of E-glass and carbon fibers. Optimization constraints are determined by stress, deflection and manufacturing requirements. Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and optimization software were utilized, and a framework was developed to run the complete analyses in an automated fashion. Prior to that, FEA validation of previous studies on similar U-shaped FRP girders that were constructed in Poland and Texas is presented. A finer optimization analysis is performed for the case of the Texas hybrid bridge. The optimization outcome of the hybrid FRP/RC bridge shows the appropriate composite material selection and cross-section geometry that satisfies all the applicable Limit States (LS) and, at the same time, results in the lightest design. Critical limit states show that shear stress criteria determine the optimum design for bridge spans less than 15.24 m and deflection criteria controls for longer spans. Increased side wall thickness can reduce maximum observed shear stresses, but leads to a high weight penalty. A taller cross-section and a thicker girder base can efficiently lower the observed deflections and normal stresses. Finally, substantial weight savings can be achieved by the optimization framework if base and side-wall thickness are treated as independent variables.


Fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) Hybrid Bridge U-shaped composite girder Design optimization Composite material selection 



This work is part of a project sponsored by Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The authors would like to thank Mr. Will Potter, Assistant State Structures Design Engineer, FDOT, and Mr. Steve Nolan, Senior Structures Design Engineer, FDOT, for their insights and contributions. The opinions, findings and conclusions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the FDOT or the US Department of Transportation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018
corrected publication May/2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vasileios S. Papapetrou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ali Y. Tamijani
    • 1
  • Jeff Brown
    • 2
  • Daewon Kim
    • 1
  1. 1.Aerospace Engineering DepartmentEmbry-Riddle Aeronautical UniversityDaytona BeachUSA
  2. 2.Civil Engineering DepartmentEmbry-Riddle Aeronautical UniversityDaytona BeachUSA

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