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Title: Numerical Design Optimization of a New Hybrid-Utility Pole

Author(s): Mohamed Bouabidi, Slimane Metiche, Radhouane Masmoudi.

Publication: Symposium Paper

Volume: 360


Appears on pages(s): 274-289

Keywords: Hybrid Utility Poles, Fiber Reinforced Polymers (FRP), Double Skinned Poles, Finite Element, Design Optimization, Flexural Performance, Concrete-Filled FRP Tubes (CFFT)

DOI: 10.14359/51740630

Date: 3/1/2024

The current market of utility poles is growing rapidly. The dominant materials that are used for this purpose are generally wood, steel, concrete, and fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP). FRP poles are gaining wide acceptance for what they provide in terms of strength and durability, lack of maintenance and a high strength to weight ratio. Hybrid structures can combine the best properties of the materials used, where each part enhances the structure to provide a balanced structure. This study evaluates a hybrid structure composed of three main layers, an outer FRP shell, a hollow concrete core and an inner hollow steel tube, this whole system is to be utilized as a tapered utility pole. The outer FRP shell provides protection and enhances the strength of the pole, the concrete core provides stiffness, and the inner steel tube enhances the flexural performance while reducing the volume in consequence the weight of the structure compared to a fully filled pole. A new design for a 12-feet long hybrid FRP pole using finite element is presented in this paper. The design was based on a parametric study evaluating the effect of key-design parameters (i.e., the thickness of FRP, the volume and strength of the concrete, the thickness and diameter of the steel tube). Concrete strength affected the general performance of the pole, the decrease in concrete strength due to utilizing lightweight concrete was compensated with increasing the FRP pole thickness. For the same pole configuration, with incremental variation of the FRP thickness values from 3 mm to 7 mm up to the initial concrete cracking load, no significant variation of the pole top deflection was observed. However, at failure load the increase of FRP thickness from 3 mm to 7 mm decreased the ultimate tip deflection by 50%. New hybrid utility poles have the potential to be an interesting alternative solution to the conventional poles as they can provide better durability and mechanical performances.