Friday, October 9, 2009

Researcher Invents Bridge Made of Recycled Plastic

A researcher who says he has devoted his whole life looking for ways to use waste plastic has struck pay dirt. Rutgers University professor Tom Nosker invented a bridge that is constructed of recycled materials, and it is being used by the U.S. military on one of its bases. The first installation of the bridge, says this article from the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer at, has been at Camp Mackall in North Carolina, and the bridge has won kudos for being strong enough to hold a 70-ton tank.

Spanning a 30-foot gap over a local creek, the thermoplastic composite structure cost about $370,000. To come up with the 85,000 pounds of composite material used in the bridge, car bumpers, milk cartons and liquid detergent bottles were ground up and mixed. They were then molded into the needed shapes for the bridge design. Benefits of this type of construction are that the up-front cost is less than a comparable bridge made from different materials, considerably fewer raw materials are used, and the maintenance savings are expected to be significant.

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