DIAB Divinycell core infusion bridge

Sandwich Composites Chosen for Bridge Cladding Project

Recently completed in Brisbane, Australia is a new 46 meter (150ft.) long footbridge that links the Queensland Tennis Centre (home of the Brisbane International Tennis Tournament) with Queensland Rail’s Yeerongpilly railway station. To create a visual as well as an actual link to the Centre, each side of the bridge features the sole of the iconic Dunlop Volley tennis shoe. Originally developed as a tennis shoe by Australian Adrian Quist in 1939 and featuring a distinctive herringbone tread pattern to provide better grip, it has been worn by a plethora of Australian tennis greats including Rod Laver, Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Ken Rosewell.

Cure Composites (Yandina, Queensland) was awarded the contract to produce the giant pair of tennis shoe soles by Laing 0’Rourke the main contractor for the bridge. Although fiberglass bridge claddings are often produced as single skin components using relatively low tech, chopper gun technology, Cure Composites proposed a solution that was based on sandwich composites and infusion molding. To create the tread pattern the company produced a series of chevron moldings that were up to 5.5 meters wide and 550 mm deep (18 ft. x 21.6 in.). The combination of sandwich composites and infusion technology would ensure that these components would meet the stiffness and strength requirements of the application while being around half the weight of single skin laminates.

In addition infusion molding has enabled Cure Composites to achieve greater component consistency and a superior surface finish.

Other key points why infusion and foam core were used:

  • As the Diab foam core is used instead of flow media, consumable costs are reduced, less resin is used and   the end result is a lighter, stiffer product.
  • Using a Diab foam core meant that Cure Composites could achieve the required strength in one shot whereas if either hand lay up or single skin infusion had been used there would have been exothermic problems that could cause pre-release and print problems.
  • With a sandwich laminate Cure Composites could achieve a consistent wall thickness – an important consideration as a sub frame was fitted in all the sandwich composite components.

Cure Composites also maintains that the infused sandwich composites approach will provide better storm and hailstone resistance. During the project engineers working for the main contractor expressed the view that for future footbridge projects a complete composite solution could be the way forward in order to substantially reduce the overall weight of the bridge thereby speeding installation and reducing the size and cost of the lifting equipment.


Louise Eriksson Jacka
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