The Carbon Fiber Blog


U.S. Department of Defense HJ3 Blast Test

Posted on by Marci Broderick

The United States Department of Defense tested HJ3-backed technology to wrap a structure in carbon fiber and test it’s strength against a violent explosion.

HJ3 conducted testing to demonstrate the performance of the BlastSeal™ System. Two un-reinforced concrete masonry walls were constructed within a larger containment structure. Bldod blast test - beforeastSeal™ was applied to the interior and exterior of the right side.

Detonation of explosive created a crater that was approximately 108 inches in diameter with a maximum depth of 21 inches. The control wall was completely destroyed.BlastSeal™ Retrofitted wall remained intact, and no debris of any kind was found in the interior space behind the retrofitted wall.dod blast test - after
Maximum pressure exerted on the exterior face of each wall was 178 psi; sensor located in the interior space behind the retrofitted wall recorded a peak pressure of 1.46

View video on YouTube


HJ3 Testimonial – Commercial Building Reinforcement

Posted on by Marci Broderick

Commercial high rise buildings began using Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) panels as façades in the early 1970’s. These panels are thin and lightweight compared to traditional pre-cast concrete panels, which decreases superimposed loads on the building. The GFRC facade panels were constructed with a long span that flexed significantly under wind loads causing severe cracking and leaks.  HJ3’s carbon strengthening system was able to confine the cracks and seal the panels from further water penetration.


Wind loads caused the building’s GFRC exterior panels to fatigue and crack. The panels were constructed at a long span that left the GFRC panels susceptible to cracking. In addition the panels were secured to the building using a rigid anchoring system that did not permit movement of the panels. As the GFRC panels cracked, moisture began penetrating the cracks and creating mold

The surface of the GFRC panels was cleaned with a high pressure water blast. All cracks were injected with a high strength epoxy. HJ3’s carbon fabric and resins were pre-cut and pre-batched to help the installer easily quilt the carbon system around corners and expansion joints. After installing the carbon repair system, a UV resistant gray top coat was painted over the surface of
the carbon fiber to meet the client’s expected aesthetics.


Exterior of high-rise with HJ3’s carbon fiber system

HJ3’s carbon fiber system strengthened the existing GFRC panels to resist wind loads, cracking, and fatigue. The material also served as a waterproofing membrane to eliminate moisture penetration. The HJ3 carbon system created a direct cost savings of $3 Million when compared to the cost of replacing the existing facade with new GFRC panels. Finally, residents were able to stay in the building throughout the entire repair process.

View video on YouTube


Water Infrastructure Crisis

Posted on by Marci Broderick
In 2014 a thirty-inch water main broke flooding the UCLA campus and nearby streets with about 20 million gallons.
In 2014 a thirty-inch water main broke flooding the UCLA campus and nearby streets with about 20 million gallons of drinking water. Photo Credit: Danny Moloshok/Reuters


In 2013 the American Society of Civil Engineers gave America a grade of D for our drinking water infrastructure. Much our water infrastructure is reaching the end of its serviceable life, with some pipe and mains that are more than 100 years old. There are more than one million miles of water mains in the US and the condition of many of these is unknown.


So, what does it mean to more than 264 million people that depend on our drinking water infrastructure? Large diameter pipe breaks can have serious impact on water delivery systems. That being said, water main breaks represent just a fraction of the total amount of water lost each day. Most water loss occurs undetected and underground, from smaller pipe. According to a Water Research Foundation survey, the average pipe break rate for water utilities is between 0.21 to 0.27 breaks per mile of pipeline every year.

Water pipe breaks can impact water delivery, damage personal property and other types of infrastructure. There are also potential health consequences from pipe breaks.

water infrastructure crisis.
Flooded street near the UCLA campus, from the 2014 break. Photo Credit: Danny Moloshok/Reuters


According to the American Water Works Association (AWWA), assuming every existing pipe would need to be replaced, the costs in the coming decades could exceed $1 trillion.

Expanding and repairing drinking and wastewater infrastructures could cost 2 trillion in the next 25 years according to the AWWA. The AWWA estimates that 250,000 water mains break each year. This estimate doesn’t include smaller system breaks. Approximately 2 trillion gallons of water are lost through leaks and breaks each year.  


It’s Time to Fix the US Infrastructure

Posted on by Marci Broderick

Let’s talk about our infrastructure.
Take bridges for example:

Millions of people cross bridges each day in America. Our bridges and roads connect people to services, commerce, jobs and our communities. Our infrastructure keeps America going. In fact there’s hardly anything you can do in America today that isn’t supported in some way, by our infrastructure.

According to the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, published by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), 1 in 9 bridges are structurally deficient. That translates into 70,000 bridges in the United States that require repair or replacement. You can see evidence of our failing infrastructure in any major city in America. Aside from a one-time cash infusion in 2009’s stimulus program, little else has been done to address our crumbling infrastructure, and no legislations seems imminent.


Infrastructure Repair Plays Big Role in New Budget

Posted on by Alyssa Wedler
Photo Credit: The NewYorker

Photo Credit: The NewYorker



Earlier this month, the Obama Administration released their proposed budget for fiscal year 2016. The budget, which was designed with the hopes of bringing “middle class economics into the 21st century”, proposes focus and investment in such topics as research, education, training, and infrastructure repair.



According to, a “21st century economy requires a 21st century infrastructure”If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you’ll agree that this very principal is what drives HJ3’s endeavors. It’s no mystery that America’s infrastructure is aged and horribly degraded, needing an alternative solution to the exponential costs of replacement. President Obama’s proposed budget seeks to tackle 5 areas of infrastructure that desperately need attention:

  • The proposed budget includes funds to repair degraded bridges to help ensure that collapses like this one don't happen. Photo Credit: CNN

    The proposed budget includes funds to repair degraded bridges to help ensure that collapses like this one don’t happen. Photo Credit: CNN

    Modernizing ports

  • Building stronger bridges
  • Improving roads
  • Building faster trains
  • Improving broadband


As a result of these critical investments, the Administration expects:

  • Thousands of new construction and engineering jobs
  • Stronger communities
  • Improved ease of business


Frozen Pipes?

Posted on by Alyssa Wedler
February 2015 has served Boston more snow than any other month in recorded history. Photo Credit: CBS Boston

February 2015 has served Boston more snow than any other month in recorded history. Photo Credit: CBS Boston

It seems that every winter season lately brings unprecedented amounts of snow and record-setting low temperatures, and this season has proven to be no different. February isn’t even over yet, and already, Boston has seen more snowfall this month than any other in recorded history (59.1 inches thus far). Temperatures of negative 10 have been recorded in many parts of Massachusetts. And when weather gets that cold, more than just our comfort is affected; heavy snowfall and below-freezing temperatures can result in serious problems for your home, including frozen pipes, collapsed roofs, and more.


Basement Waterproofing Done Right!

Posted on by Alyssa Wedler
Waterproof your basement to prevent flooding like this! Photo Credit:

Waterproof your basement to prevent flooding like this! Photo Credit:

Basements are often a home’s most under-utilized area. They’re dark, don’t have very good ventilation, often have awkward layouts, and exposed pipes, wiring, and other utilities pose ugly and challenging obstacles. But finishing a basement (or just simply waterproofing it) can add valuable area to your home, increasing both your living space and your home’s value.

Leaking basements are both unusable and unhealthy, so basement waterproofing needs to be a top priority for any homeowner looking to re-vamp this space. But where do you start? If you talk to a dozen different people, they’ll probably give a dozen different answers as to how you should waterproof your basement. I’m going to tackle the topic from two angles: what NOT to do, and what TO do. In most cases, basement waterproofing is actually pretty simple…so simple, in fact, that you can do it yourself!


Submerged Parking Garage to be Built in Brighton

Posted on by Alyssa Wedler

From parking structures that are built entirely from sustainable materials to floating structures built on artificial islands, we’ve seen some pretty innovative multi-car complexes. But none of them compares to a new submerged parking garage in Brighton, UK. Wait, submerged? As in, under water? Yes.

brighton marina logoBuilt nearly 40 years ago, UK’s Brighton Marina has climbed the marina ranks to become “the largest Marina complex in Europe.” Throughout the years, the marina has expanded to incorporate a village square, complete with shops, restaurants, and residential flats. A 1600-space parking garage, cinema complex, and hotel were later added. But even those additions don’t compare to the marina’s newest endeavors.

The submerged garage, which will house 350 cars safely underwater, is currently under construction. Phase 1 of the £41.5 million ($7.2 Billion, US) “West Quay Development” includes the submerged structure, two iconic towers, and a public promenade; the towers and promenade will be built on top of the parking garage, allowing a perfect view of the marina and surrounding ocean. The parking garage itself will be built with a double-height energy center, which will provide the entire development with power and heat.

The "West Quay Development" includes 2 iconic towers, a submerged parking garage, and a large promenade. Photo Credit:

The “West Quay Development” includes 2 iconic towers, a submerged parking garage, and a large promenade. Photo Credit:

When finished, the West Quay Development will include a total of 11 buildings, each composed of different architectural styles and ranging in height from 2 stories to 40. The 40-story tower, built with “slender, sinuous, and distinct composition”, will mark the eastern portal to the marina. All 11 buildings will be arranged around the large public promenade, and all components of the development will be made entirely out of concrete in the hopes that concrete will better withstand the harsh marine environment.

The submerged parking garage and accompanying buildings are being built on top of the seabed within Brighton Marina’s inner harbor. The seabed, which consists of strong, high-density white chalk and flint, provides a stable foundation for the permanently-submerged structure.

Building the Garage

Diagram of the intended plans for Phase 1. Photo credit: ASCE

Diagram of the intended plans for Phase 1. Photo credit: ASCE

The original design for the submerged parking garage called for a 4-sided cofferdam, but a value-engineering study showed that an existing quay, built from a sheet pile cofferdam and filled with concrete, could be used as the fourth side. While interfacing a new, 3-sided cofferdam with an existing one posed extra risk (existing quay is already corroded and wasn’t designed to be watertight), engineers were confident that grout socks would sufficiently connect the new cofferdam with the old one. Once all 4 sides were connected, a propping system within the cofferdam supported the quay to help prevent collapse as the water pressure was removed. De-watering the area took over a month.


After the water was removed, 13″-diameter steel tubular piles were vibrated nearly 45 feet into the seabed to provide support for the garage’s foundation. By using small-diameter pipes in closer intervals, developers were better able to pour a foundation with uniform thickness.

The garage is scheduled to be finished by March, 2015.