ISIS Canada FRP Design Workshops

The 2008 ISIS Canada FRP Design Workshop Tour provides an excellent opportunity for engineers, practictioners and researchers to update their knowledge of how FRPs are used in civil infrastructure. The workshops will be conducted in Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Halifax. Download brochure for dates and times

These workshops will focus on how to design both new and existing structures using FRPs by following these documents:


  • Design Manual #3, Reinforcing Concrete Structures with Fibre Reinforced Polymers
  • Design Manual #4, FRP Rehabilitation of Reinforced Concrete Structures


  • Design Manual #5, Prestressing Concrete Structures with FRPs
  • Specifications for FRP Product Certification of FRPs as Internal Reinforcement in Concrete Structures
  • Durability of Fibre Reinforced Polymers in Civil Infrastructure

Participants will receive copies of the manuals and the presentations will focus on a detailed review of design procedures and examples. Each workshop will run from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on its scheduled day and will provide the equivalent of 6 professional development hours.

Download brochure to register


Updated CHBDC Receives Final Approval

ISIS Canada spearheaded the update of Section 16 of the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code to include the use of ISIS technologies in the design of civil engineering structures. On March 24, 2006, the CSA Technical Committee gave its final approval to update Section 16 as proposed by the Fibre Reinforced Structures Subcommittee. Publication of the new section of the CHBDC is anticipated in November of 2006.

This is the only code in the world that permits the use of Fibre Reinforced Polymers (FRPs) for strengthening and reinforcement on both new and rehabilitated bridges and structures made of concrete or wood. This new code will not only have an impact on the design of civil structures in Canada, but will also influence the updating of similar codes worldwide and is an historic moment for ISIS Canada in its efforts to transfer its research into practice.


ISIS Canada to Receive $9.6 Million to Continue Innovative Research

The ISIS Canada Research Network will receive $9.6 million in new federal funding over the next three years to continue its innovative work with advanced building materials and structural health monitoring technology.

Allocated through the federal government’s NCE program, the new funding was awarded following an in-depth review of ISIS Canada’s scientific accomplishments, its future research priorities and its training and knowledge transfer activities. This review was required at the mid-point of the network’s seven-year funding cycle, and the new funding extends ISIS Canada’s mandate for another three years.

“Since we began in 1995, we have made great progress in developing innovative construction materials and sensing systems,” said ISIS Canada President and CEO Dr. Aftab Mufti, Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Manitoba.

“For the next three years, this new funding will allow us to focus more on our field work and incorporating FRPs and sensor technologies into structures like bridges. Many of the principles we have developed are becoming a part of the vocabulary of civil engineers across North America, and we will be working to change public policy by having our research findings incorporated into building and bridge design codes. ”

“This new funding for the ISIS Canada Research Network is great news for all Canadians,” said Dr. Joanne Keselman, Vice-President (Research) at the University of Manitoba. “We are very proud to host this national network that has already made tremendous advances in construction materials and sensor technology. Over the next three years, the continued funding from the NCE program will allow ISIS researchers to further apply their expertise to improve Canada’s civil infrastructure.”

ISIS Canada gained national attention in 2004 during the restoration of the Golden Boy statue at the top of the Manitoba Legislature. As part of the restoration process, ISIS engineers installed fibre optic sensors to continuously monitor the statue’s health, including how it responds to wind and precipitation.

The NCE program is managed jointly by the three federal granting agencies – the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council – in partnership with Industry Canada.

See NCE announcement


ISIS Canada and Vector Construction Receive Synergy Award

Mr. Donald Whitmore, Chairman of ISIS Canada and President of Vector Construction Group, is pleased to announce that ISIS Canada at the University of Manitoba and Vector Construction Group have received the Synergy Award for Innovations.

Established by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Synergy Awards recognize outstanding research and development partnerships between universities and industry.

This award will recognize the ten-year partnership between the University of Manitoba and Vector Construction Group. Led by ISIS Canada Research Network President, Dr. Aftab Mufti, Civil Engineering Professor at the University of Manitoba, and Vector Construction Group Vice-President, Mr. Garth Fallis, the collaboration has combined innovative ideas with leading-edge materials and systems to advance the state-of-the-art in construction, restoration and monitoring of concrete and timber structures. This partnership is also leading the world in ‘civionics’ - the use of advanced sensor devices and systems for real-time monitoring of bridges and other structures.

The ISIS Canada Research Network, is funded by the federal Canadian Network of Centres of Excellence program, and has been striving for the advancement of the civil engineering profession since 1995.

Vector Construction Group is celebrating its 40th Anniversary as a Canadian Company that provides "innovative solutions to concrete and corrosion problems" for Canadian and International Clients.


Brahim Benmokrane Receives Canada Research Chair Renewal

The Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), has announced a grant of $1,176,000 to Professor Brahim Benmokrane of the Department of Civil Engineering at the Université de Sherbrooke, to support the renewal of his NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Innovative Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Composite Materials for Infrastructure. Dr. Benmokrane is an ISIS Project Leader.

“Dr. Benmokrane’s research will enable us to develop new materials and structures and to test their durability and suitability for the Canadian climate,” said Mr. Emerson. “This research will help ensure that Canada maintains a leading-edge infrastructure technology.”

This Université de Sherbrooke research chair has already achieved a number of successes. For example, it has substantially alleviated the persistent problem of corroding steel in concrete infrastructures by replacing the steel, in repairs to existing infrastructures and construction of new ones, with synthetic materials. Reinforcing bars made of fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites have excellent durability.

Dr. Benmokrane explains, “Reinforced concrete structures have proven especially vulnerable to corrosion. By reinforcing concrete with corrosion-proof composite materials that are both light and extremely durable, we can radically improve the quality and durability of structures such as highways and bridges, while reducing maintenance costs proportionately. FRP composites can extend the service life of structures and minimize maintenance requirements.”

Dr. Nigel Lloyd, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice-President of NSERC, added, “Thanks to his research program, which combines laboratory testing with field applications, Professor Benmokrane has strengthened the ties between his research team and the private and public organizations involved in renewing urban infrastructures. The culmination of this partnership has been the use of FRP reinforcing bars in a number of new bridge decks and other structures. These new structures also incorporate another leading-edge technology: a system that uses fibre-optic sensors to monitor these structures remotely.”

The financial support that Dr. Benmokrane’s research program receives from the federal government will be distributed over five years and provided through NSERC’s Industrial Research Chairs program. Professor Benmokrane has also secured financial support from the following partners in private industry and government: Pultrall Inc., Roctest Ltée., Teknika-HBA Inc., GéoLab Inc., Avensys Inc., A.S. Composites Inc., Hydro-Québec, the Ministère des Transports du Québec, Public Works and Government Services Canada and TowerTex Composites Innovateurs Inc. Together, these partners will contribute a total of $1,230,000 in cash and another $1,000,000 in products and services that are essential to the Chair’s research activities. In addition, the Chair will provide training for more than 25 highly qualified people in this research field over the coming five years.

Professor Brahim Benmokrane is a world-recognized expert in the field of FRP composites and their applications in civil engineering structures. His research has earned him a number of distinctions. He was recently made a Fellow of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering and the American Concrete Institute, and he received the Méritas Award in 2004 from the Eastern Townships regional section of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec.

NSERC is a federal agency whose role is to make investments in people, discovery and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians. With an annual budget of more than $860 million, the agency supports more than 22,000 university students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 10,000 university professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 600 Canadian companies to participate and invest in university research projects.


ISIS Canada Making an Impact

A cross-country survey was undertaken in which over 160 individuals were interviewed regarding the Impact of ISIS Canada on the design of civil engineering structures. Nearly 95 percent of those interviewed had used technologies which were the subject of ISIS Canada research, and over 90 percent would use those technologies again. The feedback was very positive. The findings demonstrate that ISIS is having a significant impact in this domain. The acceptance and use of FRPs is growing and the ISIS Canada research program is appropriately focused upon addressing the remaining barriers to widespread use of FRPs in the design of civil structures.

Download report (PDF)


Excellent Performance of GFRP in Concrete

After eight years of service in five bridge decks from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, GFRPs (glass fibre reinforced polymers) have provided excellent performance in concrete structures.

Contrary to common belief by the engineering community, core sample test results taken in these five structures reveal that the alkaline in concrete bridge decks does not have any detrimental effect on the GFRP material.
Labratory test results reveal:


This project team has extensive expertise in materials science and was lead by Dr. Aftab Mufti and coordinated by Dr. Maria Onofrei. Dr. Nemkumar Banthia, Dr. Brahim Benmokrane, Dr. John Newhook. Dr. Gamil Tadros. Dr. Baidar Bakht and Mr. Peter Brett round out the GFRP durability committee.

View the reports and presentations


ISIS Canada Leads a Paradigm Shift: Winnipeg Principles for Design of Concrete Bridge Decks

The objective of the International Workshop on Innovative Bridge Deck Technologies, held in Winnipeg on April 14-15, 2005, was to develop a consensus on future design of bridge decks to provide leadership to the civil engineering design community. A consensus was developed at the workshop to establish “The ISIS Canada Winnipeg Principles” that is destined to create a paradigm shift in the design of bridge decks.

An Assessment of the State of the Art of Concrete Deck Slabs

It is the consensus of the attendees at the International Workshop on Innovative Bridge Deck Technologies held in Winnipeg on April 14-15, 2005, that the state of the art is now well established in the following particulars.

(a) That inherent arching action is present in concrete bridge deck slabs in the transverse direction, and that in consequence, relevant deck slabs, such as those in composite slab on girder bridges, should preferably be designed in accordance with such arching action, whereby the top reinforcement is no longer required for strength and the arching action is achieved by one of:

i) internal bottom reinforcement in the concrete, which may be steel or FRP, and which should be designed by stiffness considerations and for concrete crack control; or
ii) stay in place formwork, which may be of steel, concrete or FRP, which is designed by stiffness considerations and by proper connections to the girders, and which, if of concrete, is accompanied by a bottom grid for concrete crack control; or
iii) external straps, designed by stiffness considerations and by proper connections to the girders, along with a limited amount of steel or FRP reinforcement placed as a bottom grid for concrete crack control.
iv) suitably placed diaphragms between girders provided they are properly connected.

It is noted that inherent arching action cannot be applied to barrier walls, and top reinforcement in cantilever deck overhangs.

(b) It has been demonstrated that inherent arching action is of benefit when designing for fatigue, and it is therefore recommended that, with the help of research on full-scale models and/or prototypes, one or more methods should be developed for designing deck slabs for fatigue 

(c) That new provisions should be adopted into codes of practice to reflect the enhanced state of design knowledge relating to the use of FRP in concrete deck slabs

[Examples of codes of practice that can be referenced are ACI 440, ACI ITG-3-04 and CHBCD]

Baidar Bakht, Canada, JMBT Structures Research
Nemkumar Banthia, Canada, University of British Columbia
Brahim Benmokrane, Canada, Université de Sherbrooke
Dave Bowen, Canada, Wardrop Engineering
Peter Brett, Canada, KRM Consulting Ltd.
J.J. Roger Cheng, University of Alberta
Sam Donachuk, Canada, Manitoba Transportation and Government Services
Ruth Eden, Canada, Manitoba Floodway Authority
Rick Haldane-Wilsone, Canada, Wardrop Engineering
Hisham Ibrahim, Canada, Buckland and Taylor Ltd.
Chad Klowak, Canada, ISIS Canada
Venkatash Kodur, Canada, National Research Council
Travis Konda, USA, Iowa State University
Ralston MacDonnell, Canada, MacDonnell Group
Lloyd McGinnis, Canada, ISIS Canada
Kenneth Neale, Canada, Université de Sherbrooke
Al Nelson, Canada, Manitoba Transportation and Government Services
John Newhook, Canada, Dalhousie University
Michael Oliva, USA, University of Wisconsin
Sital Rihal, Canada, Dillon Consulting
Walter Saltzberg, Canada, ISIS Canada
Derek Tardif, Canada, Université de Sherbrooke
Terry Wipf, USA, Iowa State University