Construction of a pultruded composite structure: Case study

Lawrence C. Bank, T. Russell Gentry, Kenneth H. Nuss, Stephanie H. Hurd, Anthony J. Lamanna, Stephen J. Duich, Ben Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In a recent research and development project a novel prototype pultruded composite structure was designed, fabricated, and tested. The bargelike, box-girder type structure measured approximately 24-ft long by 15-ft wide by 5-ft high (7.3×4.6×1.5 m). The structure was constructed from commercially available off-the-shelf pultruded structural profiles and panel sections. Tubular steel structural members and steel hardware were used to connect and join the different sections and subassemblies. The structure consisted of three 24-ft-long by 5-ft-wide by 5-ft-high (7.3×1.5×1.5 m) rectangular box-girder modular units and six 4-ft (1.2-m) wide modular deck panels. A design requirement was that the structure be capable of being transported by conventional, nonpermit trucking and be assembled at a remote site for subsequent testing. The structure was fabricated at a ship building and repair shop in Norfolk, Va., whose primary expertise was with conventional steel ship-structure fabrication methods and which had no prior experience with fabricating a large pultruded structural system. To fabricate and assemble the structure, a set of construction documents was produced. These included a set of written construction and assembly specifications, a set of detailed construction drawings, a detailed parts list, and a schedule. This case study details the construction process and provides a step-by-step explanation of how the engineering design team developed the construction documents for a relatively complex pultruded composite structure. Details of the design, analysis, and testing of the system are provided elsewhere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-119
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Composites for Construction
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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