Rubber Fenders as Protective Structures Used for Bridges

In addition to bridge damage, vessel collisions may result in serious environmental damage such as the spilling of oil and other chemicals. The consequences of a vessel collision may therefore reach far beyond the direct costs of repairing/ replacing the vessel and possibly the bridge.

The bridge elements can be designed to withstand the impact loads, or a fender or protection system can be developed to prevent, redirect, or reduce the impact loads on bridge elements to non-destructive levels.

If the force resistance of the protection system is higher than the vessel crushing force, the bow of the vessel will crush and the impact energy will be primarily absorbed by the vessel.

If the vessel crushing force is higher than the resistance of the protection system, the impact energy will be primarily absorbed by the deflection and crushing of the protection system.

The protection system should be designed not only to protect the bridge structure, but also to protect the vessel and the environment against serious damage. This may be achieved by combining different types of protective systems. Protection systems may be located directly on the bridge structure (such as a bridge pier fender), or independent of the bridge (such as a dolphin). The geometry of the protective structure should be developed to prevent the rake (overhang) of the design vessel’s bow from striking and causing damage to any exposed portion for the bridge.

The various types of protective structures commonly used for bridges are listed below:

 Fender systems
 Pile Supported Systems
 Dolphin Protection
 Artificial Island or Reef Protection
 Floating Protection Systems

Rubber fenders are commercially available in a wide variety of extruded and built-up shapes. Impact energy is absorbed through the elastic deformation of the rubber elements either in compression, bending, shear deformations or a combination of all three.

At the end of last year, we JIER were selected to provide Rubber Fender Protection System for DaWon Bridge in Zhaoqing, a city located in south of China. The fendering system includes JDA Arch Type rubber fenders and JPF Foam Filled Fenders.

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