The Carbon Fiber Blog

 

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.

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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 whitehouse.gov, 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

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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.

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Basement Waterproofing Done Right!

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

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

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!

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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: SkyscraperNews.com

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

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. 

 

MSHA Pushes For Proximity Detection Systems

Posted on by Alyssa Wedler
 MSHA's recent push for the increased use of proximity detection systems should help reduce mine accidents. Photo Credit: WVrecord.com


MSHA’s recent push for the increased use of proximity detection systems should help reduce mine accidents. Photo Credit: WVrecord.com

Mine workers face challenging, and often dangerous, working conditions every day. In surface mines, large equipment with limited visibility make it difficult to see smaller vehicles and pedestrians, increasing the likelihood of collision or injury. In the confined spaces of underground mines, where proximity is a challenge, limited visibility due to dust, poor lighting, and large machinery also poses potential risks. In fact, according to the CDC’s Office of Mine Safety and Health Research, more than 40% of the most serious mining injuries (those involving fatalities or permanent disabilities) between 2000 and 2007 were found to be a result of collisions, pinning, crushing, and striking hazards. In an effort to reduce the number and frequency of mining accidents, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has proposed new rules requiring Proximity Detection Systems to be installed on continuous mining machines.

When a miner steps into the yellow "Caution Zone," a warning alarm alerts the mine operator. If a miner crosses into the "Shutdown Zone," the machine shuts down immediately. Photo Credit: magazine.cim.org

When a miner steps into the yellow “Caution Zone,” a warning alarm alerts the mine operator. If a miner crosses into the “Shutdown Zone,” the machine shuts down immediately. Photo Credit: magazine.cim.org

Proximity Detection Systems provide a new, potentially life-saving technology designed to prevent crushing, pinning, and collision accidents. The innovative systems use a number of Proximity Warning tools, including radar, sonar, GPS, and cameras, to alert mine operators when someone or something is in the path of a mining machine, shutting down whatever motion that machine is currently set to perform. Proximity Detection Systems are being installed on mining equipment all over the globe at an increasing rate, and have proven valuable in both surface mines and underground mines. While MSHA has approved a number of commercially-available systems, their approval is based more on the systems’ lack of risk for spark or thermal ignition than they are system performance.

 

This diagram depicts safe zones and potentially hazardous ones, based on the miner's position relative to that of the equipment. Photo Credit: cdc.gov

This diagram depicts safe zones and potentially hazardous ones, based on the miner’s position relative to that of the equipment. Photo Credit: cdc.gov

Mining has long been considered one of the world’s most dangerous jobs. In 1907, regarded as the “deadliest year in US coal mining history”, an estimated 3,242 American miners were killed in mining accidents. And while safety standards, laws, and innovative equipment have helped to drastically reduce the frequency and severity of mining accidents, they unfortunately do still occur.

According to the Office of Mine Safety and Health Research:

  • 3-4 people are still killed every year by collisions and driving over unseen edges at surface mines.
  • Since 1984, 33 miners have been killed from being struck or pinned by a continuous mining machine
    • A proximity detection system disabling the mining machines could have helped avoid 80% of these fatalities
  • MSHA estimates that proximity detection technology can prevent as much as 20% of all mining-related deaths

HJ3 strives to provide the strongest carbon fiber on the market, but the reason that we do so is to create a safer environment for as many people as we can. As technology continues to advance, in safety equipment and reliable structural repair systems, the hopes of eliminating mining accidents come closer and closer to being reality.

EPA’s Clean Power Plan Seeks to Reduce Power Plant Emissions

Posted on by Alyssa Wedler
 Comparison of CO2 emissions caused by power plants vs. those of renewable energy. Photo Credit: Union of Concerned Scientists (ucsusa.org)


Comparison of CO2 emissions caused by power plants vs. those of renewable energy. Photo Credit: Union of Concerned Scientists (ucsusa.org)

In June, 2014, the EPA proposed a plan that hopes to help existing power plants reduce their carbon emissions. Known as the “Clean Power Plan”, the proposal builds on actions that many businesses have already taken to help address the negative consequences of climate change. The overall aim is to provide an affordable, reliable energy system while simultaneously cutting pollution. And since different states provide different sources of energy and therefore have different opportunities to reduce their carbon emissions, the proposed plan will be flexible, allowing states to determine the methods and processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that work best for them.

The Clean Power Plan will set state-specific, rate-based goals that are designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, especially for existing fossil fuel-driven electric generating plants.

 

 

The proposal, for which progress is already underway, is composed of two elements:

State-specific CO2 goals based on emission rates
Guidelines to develop, submit, and implement state plans

Each state has a specific goal to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. Photo Credit: National Conference of State Legislatures (ncsl.org)

Each state has a specific goal to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. Photo Credit: National Conference of State Legislatures (ncsl.org)

State-Specific Goals

The Clean Power Plan helps each state set up individual goals that best reflect their unique conditions. The state-specific goals will seek to:

  • Improve efficiency at carbon-intensive power plants
  • Design programs that enhance the dispatch priority of low-emitting and renewable power sources, while also spurring private investments in these industries
  • Design programs to help homes and businesses use electricity more efficiently

 

Guidelines to Develop, Submit, and Implement Plans

While the Clean Power Plan will provide general guidelines to help states make their goals a reality, it will not do so via cut and dry instructions. Instead, the plan will allow states to take the lead and create plans that work best for them while remaining consistent with EPA guidelines.

  • States will be allowed to work alone or in collaboration with other states, as collaboration may provide additional opportunities for flexibility and savings.
  • The guidelines will also help states set reasonable timelines for accomplishing their goals; a full 2-3 years will be allowed for creating and submitting plans, while an additional 15 years (measured after their proposal is finalized) will be allowed for fully implementing all emission-reducing measures.

 

The Hazlewood power plant is 40 years old and regarded by some as "the industrialized world's most greenhouse-polluting power plant" Photo Credit: Greenpeace.org

The Hazlewood power plant is 40 years old and regarded by some as “the industrialized world’s most greenhouse-polluting power plant” Photo Credit: Greenpeace.org

Dangers of CO2

Carbon dioxide, or CO2, is the primary greenhouse gas pollutant in the world. In fact, CO2 is responsible for nearly 75% of all global greenhouse gas pollutions, and 82% of the U.S. pollution. CO2 is, therefore, the highest-blamed culprit for climate change. Dramatic increases in extreme weather and climate events in recent decades (such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and droughts) have caused great deals of damage, injury, and death, as well as disruption to global infrastructure and agriculture systems. These factors have spurred the design and implementation of the Clean Power Plan.

Click Here for more information about the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

Carbon Fiber Seismic Upgrade

Posted on by Alyssa Wedler
The Mandatory Soft Story Program has been put into effect to avoid earthquake damage. Photo Credit: San Fransisco Department of Building Inspection (sfdbi.org)

The Mandatory Soft Story Program has been put into effect to avoid earthquake damage to buildings like this. Photo Credit: San Fransisco Department of Building Inspection (sfdbi.org)

Application Details

Due to their ever-active fault lines, many California buildings are undergoing seismic upgrades to prevent potential damage and injury from earthquakes. In fact, the Mandatory Soft Story Retrofit program, which was created in 2013 by the Department of Building, mandates that “all older, wood-framed, multi-family buildings in San Francisco with a soft-story condition” be seismically upgraded.

Many buildings throughout California, especially those built from concrete, aren’t required to upgrade, but in several cases, building owners are having upgrades completed anyway. One such owner recently called upon HJ3 to complete its building’s seismic upgrade; HJ3’s Civil™ system was chosen to complete the upgrade because of its incredible strength. More than 3,900 square feet of HJ3’s carbon fiber, including 1,700 carbon fiber anchor dowels, were installed on several of the building’s concrete walls, successfully increasing the walls’ shear and flexural capacity.

 

 

Installation

HJ3's Carbon Fiber is applied to one of the walls.

HJ3’s Carbon Fiber is applied to one of the walls.

Carbon fiber anchor dowels are installed at 2-square-foot intervals.

Carbon fiber anchor dowels are installed at 2-square-foot intervals.

 

 

Before the HJ3 Civil™ Seismic Upgrade system was installed, all walls were cleaned of dust and debris. Holes for the carbon fiber dowels were drilled at intervals of 2 square feet all along the walls to achieve a homogeneous distribution over the CFRP-wrapped region. After priming, HJ3’s carbon fiber fabric was saturated with resin and applied to the walls, followed by the carbon fiber dowels. A few inches of loose carbon fibers were left to smooth radially against the newly-strengthened walls before HJ3’s ultra-durable topcoat was applied.

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

seismic retrofit system - topcoat

HJ3’s protective topcoat is applied last.

seismic upgrade - dowel topcoat

The HJ3 Civil topcoat protects the carbon fiber dowels.

 

 

The entire seismic upgrade was successfully completed within 7 days. Not only is the building earthquake-resistant, but the carbon fiber upgrade saved a significant amount of money, downtime, and environmental costs compared with steel upgrades. Furthermore, since carbon fiber weighs only four ounces per square foot, upgrading their building with the ultra-light fabric resulted in practically no added weight to the structure; had the client chosen a steel upgrade instead, it would have added a dangerous amount of weight to the already-heavy concrete building.

 

 

 

If you have a building that requires a seismic upgrade or retrofit, and would like additional information about HJ3’s carbon fiber systems, contact us today at info@hj3.com.

 

 

Thank You for a Great 2014!

Posted on by Alyssa Wedler

At HJ3, several principals drive our company culture and pursuit of relentless quality, the most impactful (in my humble opinion) being that of giving back to our community. In fact, HJ3 pledges 1,000 hours of community service as a company every year, and 2014 saw a great success to this endeavor. Thank you for contributing to our success!

The HJ3 team poses after participating in the Great Strides 5k walk to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The HJ3 team poses after participating in the Great Strides 5k walk to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

In April, HJ3 assembled the largest team at the Tucson Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk, which took place at the University of Arizona. The event raised more than $120,000 to help in the search for a cure of cystic fibrosis, a disease that affects more than 30,000 children and adults across the United States. It was an honor to be a part of such a worthy cause, and we all thoroughly enjoyed a day in the sunshine!

Throughout 2014, and with continuing efforts into 2015 and beyond, HJ3 also contributed time and marketing help to Tucson Science Works, a non-profit organization that is building a hands-on discovery center for young adults. We are proud to be a part of the Tucson Science Garage, and we’re excited to unveil the Garage’s exciting new exhibits for people of all ages to interact with everyday phenomena as they’ve never seen before!

 

Baby Mason was a smiling, happy baby who loved life.

Baby Mason was a smiling, happy baby who loved life.

Some HJ3 employees with members of the Love Every Day crew.

Some HJ3 employees with members of the Love Every Day crew.

In August, HJ3 was honored to help an organization known locally as “Love Every Day”. We worked in honor of Mason David Sipe, a happy baby boy and nephew to one of HJ3’s employees, who sadly passed away two months before his first birthday. And while the Love Every Day crew thanked us over and over again for our help with setting up a room full of activities for over 100 boys and girls, the real thanks honestly goes to the Love Every Day organization. Its principals are simple: show our children and those around us that we love them, every single day.

 

 

We wrapped up 2014 with our annual Salvation Army Adopt a Family event. HJ3 raised a record $2,200 this year, enabling us to adopt 3 different families in need. After a delicious company breakfast, we set out to deliver hundreds of gifts that were purchased and wrapped with individual families in mind. It was a great way to wrap up a year of prosperity, happiness, and giving back.

family 2

Lino got lots of toys and new clothes!

family 1

Maricela and Celina are each allowed to open 1 gift before Christmas.

 

teams w families

HJ3 teams with 2 of the families we had the opportunity to adopt for the holidays.

Happy Holidays from all of us at HJ3 Composite Technologies. Thank you for being part of our best year yet, and here’s to a prosperous 2015 for all!

Copper Mine Beam and Slab Repair

Posted on by Alyssa Wedler
The beams and ceiling slabs at this mine were severely degraded.

The beams and ceiling slabs at this mine were severely degraded.

Carbon Fiber Beam and Slab Repair

Problem

Copper mining facilities often degrade faster than other facilities due to their constant exposure to vibrations, moisture, and chemicals. The concrete beams and ceiling slabs at the concentrator building in this century-old copper plant were severely degraded as a result of these vibrations and exposure to chemicals. The area, located beneath the concentrator building’s 3rd floor, was plagued with severe corrosion, de-lamination, and concrete spalling, and required structural reinforcement to maintain safe operations.

 

Dangerous through-holes had developed in the ceiling slabs between the 3rd and 4th floors.

Dangerous through-holes had developed in the ceiling slabs between the 3rd and 4th floors.

Design Scope

The concrete had de-laminated, exposing inner steel rebar to the mine's corrosive atmosphere.

The concrete had de-laminated, exposing inner steel rebar to the mine’s corrosive atmosphere.

The repair area consisted of 2 beams and 3 ceiling slabs, requiring 960 total square feet of carbon fiber. The damage occurred across the entire length and width of the beams and slabs, and large through-holes in the ceiling slabs had developed as a result of the extreme corrosion.

Installation

Before the CarbonSeal™ carbon fiber system could be installed, all de-laminated concrete was removed via pressure washer and hand tools. Exposed rebar was cleaned to near white, and missing concrete was patched. After the surface was fully prepared, HJ3’s patented CarbonSeal™ bi-directional carbon fiber fabric was applied to the beams and slabs, and uni-directional carbon fiber followed on the bottoms of each beam. The CarbonSeal™ system was then layered with a protective urethane topcoat to prevent future corrosion, and weep holes were drilled into the beams after the system had fully cured.

IMG_2259-142

HJ3’s CarbonSeal fabric is applied to the ceiling slabs.

IMG_2250-134

HJ3 applies CarbonSeal carbon fiber to one of the beams.

IMG_2253-136

The finished CarbonSeal-wrapped beam is stronger than ever before.

 

HJ3's protective urethane topcoat prevents future corrosion.

HJ3’s protective urethane topcoat prevents future corrosion.

Conclusion

All beams and slabs were successfully reinforced in a matter of 10 days. By repairing their slabs and beams with carbon fiber, as opposed to replacing them completely, the mine saved almost $150,000 while simultaneously preventing more than 1,000 lbs of steel and concrete from potentially going to landfills. Furthermore, the beam and slab repair prevented almost a ton of carbon dioxide emissions from polluting the atmosphere and more than 30,000 gallons of water from going to waste, as manufacturing replacement steel and concrete wasn’t necessary.

If you work in a mine that needs structural reinforcement, or would like more information about HJ3’s carbon fiber solutions, write us today at info@hj3.com or call us at 1-877-303-0453.