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IN THE TRENCHES: Composites are everywhere--even under your feet.

Access trenches for cabling and pipework are rarely noticed, but they can be dangerous. Their metal and concrete covers can be very heavy, and are difficult --and dangerous--to remove and replace. Over time, they can corrode and crack, fracture or crumble.

In 2014, UK firm Fibrelite started working with concrete trench manufacturer Trenwa to create joint products--concrete road crossing trenches topped with light, robust, composite covers. Since then, the new technology has been used in electricity substations, wastewater treatment plants, chemical refineries and other sites across North America.

"Combining high-performance, lightweight Fibrelite lids with our low-cost precast trench bases delivers a very high-value solution for our customers," says George Schurr, Trenwa's president. "They get unparalleled strength and durability at a lower cost than has ever been seen in the market."

The demand has been so high that the companies are now working to create composite covers that can be retrofitted to existing trenches.

Caption: Concrete trenches with composite covers Protect cables from road damage

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Publication:Professional Engineering Magazine
Date:Oct 1, 2018
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