When engineering a bridge, there are numerous design factors to consider that will affect the structure’s integrity and longevity. Design, construction method, and materials all play an important role in a bridge’s safety in both the short- and long-term. Ideally, the perfect bridge will be structurally sound and require minimal maintenance over the years, providing a stellar return on investment for all stakeholders.

Out of the many design and materials decisions made in bridge construction, load-bearing pads are often overlooked. However, choosing load-bearing pads with superior physical properties can make a significant difference in terms of routine maintenance, repairs, and overall value added to your next project. Read on to learn more about how Iracore’s urethane load-bearing pads offer superior performance to add value to your next bridge construction project.

Urethane: A Superior Alternative to Traditional Materials

Throughout the last century, rubber and neoprene load-bearing pads have been employed in bridge design and construction around the world. They play a particularly important role in railway bridge construction; installed between the steel rail and the sleeper, load-bearing pads play a significant role in protecting the sleeper from wear and damage over time.

To date, natural and synthetic rubbers have been the first choice in this application due to their resilience in high-impact wear applications. The material’s ability to “bounce back” even under heavy loads and demanding conditions have made them commonplace in bridge designs across North America.

However, the vast majority of rubbers used for load-bearing pads have several weaknesses that have been found to lead to premature wear (not to mention expensive replacement). Both natural and synthetic rubbers are prone to deterioration (cracking) caused by ground-level ozone, electrical discharges, exposure to ultraviolet rays, and changes in temperature and weather conditions.

To solve these challenges, Iracore has developed propriety polyurethane compounds engineered specifically for load-bearing pad applications. Offering superior resistance to abrasion and wear, urethane is considered a durable and cost-effective alternative to rubber in many industrial uses. Compared to rubber in load-bearing applications, urethane has superior abrasion and ground-level ozone resistance, and is less prone to weather-related damage overall. On top of that, urethane pads are less prone to deflection than their rubber counterparts, requiring little (if any) reinforcement.

What can this mean for your next bridge construction project? A load-bearing pad made from the right urethane compound will perform better than typical rubber or neoprene pads, and will last longer under the same conditions. The combination of superior performance in the short term and unrivalled durability in the long term make it a clear choice for operations and engineers looking to get the most out of their wear materials.

Load-Bearing Pads at Iracore

Iracore’s team of chemists and engineers provides custom-engineered bridge load-bearing pads to meet our customers’ needs. Our team can select the right compound for your requirements and manufacture to exacting specifications, including custom dimensions, holes for clearing bolts, and more.

Our load-bearing pads have been proven to perform at temperatures as low as -40ºF, making them suitable for the harshest conditions and heaviest load requirements. Their superior ability to handle anything your design calls for makes them a cost-effective alternative to conventional rubber and neoprene pads.

All Iracore load-bearing pads are approved by AREMA, exceeding all regulatory requirements and standards. Our load-bearing pads are also approved CN, CPR, and BNSF, and other major North American railway companies making them a superior choice for any operation.

Looking for Load-Bearing Pads That Can Make a Difference?

Contact us today to find the right load-bearing solutions for your next project.