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Aluminum Structural Plate, 50 years old and still looking good

June 16, 2014

Tidal Culvert Mill Cover, ME
Half-century hero. Current view of a 1960s tidal culvert in Mill Cove, ME.

First developed in 1962, corrugated aluminum structural plate is a viable, economical buried structure solution used successfully across Canada and around the world. Yet 50 years later, the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code is light on detail and few best-practice guidelines exist in the public domain. As a result, uncertainty prevails on choosing aluminum for buried structures.

 DAS Box Culvert Portugal Cove, NL DAS near Sarnia, ON
Still going strong. AIL Aluminum Box Culvert, 1990 project in Portugal Cove, NL
Spans of up to 16 m.  AIL Dur•A•Span near Sarnia, ON.

Enter AIL – a leader in aluminum R&D and applications

With Structural Aluminum Plate having been used in over 15,000 projects worldwide since the 1960's, AIL's industry-leading R&D Team is working with other industry stakeholders to build the case for using aluminum in buried structures.

Aluminum – heal thyself!

Feeling a little rusty on aluminum? Find out what makes it so durable and long-lasting in harsh environments and how AIL is working with others to prove it.

   The secret to a long life: spontaneity and self-healing

Lightweight and corrosion/abrasion resistant, aluminum is unique in that it protects itself from aggressive environments with a
   self-healing oxide layer (Alumina or Al2O3) that forms spontaneously when aluminum is exposed to atmosphere or any oxygen-
   carrying environment. This oxide layer is dense, adheres well to the underlying aluminum and resists mars and scratches due to
   its hardness.

   Aluminum is a viable solution for buried metal structures in environments that have:   
          •    Abrasion conditions containing minor bed loads of sand and gravel with flow velocities 1.5 m/s or less   
          •    Soft or hard water (no minimum or maximum requirements for CaCO3)   
          •    Low resistivity and/or high soluble salts (chlorides and sulphates) including applications where deicing salts are used on road
          •       surfaces in winter months

AIL Team’s industry literature review and usability guidelines assist government testing

Recently, the AIL R&D team conducted an industry-wide literature review on aluminum structural plate durability in buried applications. This information was compiled in a usability guideline to aid laboratory testing on areas that required more knowledge to support and substantiate field performance claims. Testing was performed by the Ministère des Transports du Québec and the results will be presented to other provincial DOTs to facilitate further product approval processes.

Technical presentation submitted for TAC 2014

The AIL Team has also collaborated with coatings and corrosion consulting experts, to submit a technical presentation for the Transportation Association of Canada’s 2014 Conference. Its objectives are twofold: 

  • To address industry's questions by building on previous literature with laboratory testing and field inspection of existing structures; and
  • To create a practical performance guideline ready for industry use to quantify which environments aluminum structural plate is suitable for and outline best design and installation practices for various applications.

Aluminum innovation – it just keeps getting bigger and better

The AIL R&D Team has developed improved seaming techniques and reinforcement rib technologies that are taking Dur•A•Span to even greater spans and cover heights.

More about Dur•A•Span Structural Aluminum Plate

Visit product page on ail.ca »
Download brochure PDF »

  Newfoundland and Labrador – an alloy’s early allies

Aluminum Structural Plate

Harsh weather conditions and a plethora of saltwater crossings along 17,542 kms of coastline made Newfoundland and Labrador a natural place for aluminum structural plate to shine early and often. Impressed with the results, their Department of Transportation and Works continues to specify aluminum structural plate for their projects.

AIL’s Dur•A•Span: Decades of coast-to-coast performance

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