Research finds historic eco alternative for bridge maintenance

 

New research has found that a natural oil used for hundreds of years by blacksmiths to protect swords and other metalwork could be used to replace toxic paints in maintaining historic metal bridges.

A single coat of linseed oil was applied to bridge structures, which were monitored over a 12-month period.

”Local

A small number of small coin-sized samples were also placed in an accelerated climate chamber, in which heated salt water was sprayed regularly on the metal discs to mimic weathering over a number of years. Coins were coated with one, two or three layers of linseed oil to investigate whether repeated painting improved the longevity of the protection.

When the researchers returned to the bridges a year later they found the linseed oil was still present, helping protect from corrosion, and in most cases the oil also rejuvenated existing historic paint protection systems.

In the ‘accelerated testing’ the uncoated coins showed greater deterioration compared to the coins painted with linseed oil.

The study was carried out by engineers Dave Gent and Max Woof on four wrought iron bridges and viaducts in Derbyshire, which are  owned by the charity Sustrans and part of the current or planned National Cycle Network.

The 16,575 mile network includes over 800 bridges and structures, many of which are metallic.

Sustrans said it now plans to use linseed oil for future maintenance work and the team will help promote the eco alternative to other bridge owners and conservation groups around the UK.

Dave Gent, chief engineer at Bridgeway Consulting said: 'Although we do need to do more testing, this early study shows that linseed oil has great potential as a relatively cheap, environmentally-friendly alternative to the chemical-based paints that are generally used to maintain metal bridges.

'It is non-toxic and requires no cleaning of the metalwork before application, so the oil could be easily applied by most people and at most locations.'

Paul Thomas, asset manager at Sustrans said: 'This traditional method of metal protection doesn’t pollute the environment, and could help save us money for other maintenance projects. As it requires no special skills it could even be carried out by our volunteers.'

The study was published this month in the ICE’s Engineering History and Heritage journal.

To read the full paper click here.

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Definitive Map Manager

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
This role is based within the Highways Service at Cambridgeshire County Council and provides an unusual and... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Bridge Park Operations Manager

Brent Council
£38,799 - £41,706 p.a. inc.
This is an exciting opportunity to play a key role in managing the operations and contributing towards the... Brentford (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Assistant Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£21,074 - £30,756
A great opportunity for someone looking to start or develop a career in Highways Engineering including the... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Head of Strategic Transport

Cheshire East Council
£64,000 - £75,000 + benefits
We’re committed to “working for a brighter future together” – and we expect you to be too! Cheshire
Recuriter: Cheshire East Council

Regeneration Manager

Mole Valley District Council
£52,895 - £57,143 FTE
This is a great career opportunity to specialise in town centre regeneration and repositioning. Dorking, Surrey
Recuriter: Mole Valley District Council

Technical Services Officer (Mechanical)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£36,876 - £38,813
This is an exciting and challenging time for Kirklees and we want to expand our team to manage and deliver construction... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Road and Footway Asset Engineer

Kent County Council
£28,925 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen to join the Road and Footway Asset Team as an Asset Engineer. Kent
Recuriter: Kent County Council

Head of Waste

Lincolnshire County Council
£65,651 - £70,725
As Head of Waste, you will be commercially focussed and forward-thinking. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Assistant Director

Reading Borough Council
Up to £92k
It’s the ideal time to take the lead on our modernisation agenda, and deliver growth in the trading of our front line services. Reading, Berkshire
Recuriter: Reading Borough Council

Assistant Director – Highways

Lincolnshire County Council
£82,264 - £107,878
Come and lead the future agenda for our highways services. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

County Highways Manager

Lincolnshire County Council
£55,503 - £60,578
Seeking a highly motivated leader and an excellent communicator, who has a proven ability to build relationships and trust, leading by example. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Local Highways Manager (East) - Lincolnshire County Council

Lincolnshire County Council
G12 £43,662 - £50,430
Seeking someone who combines excellent technical knowledge with a dedication to the customer. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council