Utility Poles

PileMedic® is an innovative product by QuakeWrap, Inc. perfect for repair, strengthening and encapsulation of timber utility poles.

Wood utility poles often need repair or replacement. Years of use and inadequate maintenance take their toll on timber poles.

A combination of cyclic climate changes and infestation by various insects also contribute to the deterioration of these poles. The result is a continuous weakening of the wooden utility poles.

Consequently, a large number of wooden poles fail every year in storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.

Failure of utility poles leads to disruption of service to customers and continues to remain a major concern for utility companies that own and operate these poles. See a sample project for utility poles that were damaged by termites

Below are the step by step procedures to repair almost any damaged pole over a region above and below the ground within hours…

  • First, using PileMedic® laminates create a shell approximately 8-feet tall around the damaged pole. This can be done in one of two ways; either a very long 12-inch wide strip of PileMedic® is wrapped in a helical manner (as shown in the figure) or 4-ft wide sheets of PileMedic® are used to create 4-ft tall cylinders that overlap a few inches along the height of the pole. Either way, the result is the creation of a seamless shell around the pole that has the same properties 360 degrees around the pole.
  • Next, an annular space about 1 inch wide X 2 to 3 feet deep is created around the pole. This can be reachieved by using a high pressure water jet.
  • The PileMedic® jacket is lowered into its final position. Then seal the top, and inject high pressure resin which penetrates the wood and fills the space between the pole and the sleeve.
  • The annular space between the jacket and the timber pole is filled with QuakeBond 320LV (Low Viscosity) Resin; this will bond the jacket to the pole and fill all the cracks and crevices of the deteriorated pole with resin.

Because the tensile and compressive strength of QuakeBond™ 320LV resin is nearly three times that of most wood species, the filling of the voids in the pole with this resin leads to a pole that is significantly stronger than the original pole.

The QuakeBond 320LV Low Viscosity Resin that is injected into the annular space can penetrate all voids and crevices of the wood, producing a solid section. As shown in this figure, this procedure has been successfully documented. Because of the high strength of the epoxy used for injection, the filling of the voids with epoxy results in a net gain in strength for the pole. In addition, the strength of the PileMedic® jacket that is bonded to the exterior of the pole contributes to flexural resistance of the pole. If desired, reinforcing steel bars can be embedded in the sides of the pole in slots that have been cut in advance; the resin injection process makes such reinforcing bars an integral part of the pole, further enhancing the flexural (bending) strength of the pole. Tests are currently planned with Tucson Electric Power Company to quantify the effectiveness of this system

Here are some of the advantages of PileMedic® over other pole repair methods:

One-size fits all

Currently available jackets and shells fit a specific pole size. Contractors must plan in advance and order the correct size jacket for each application. PileMedic® uses the same size laminate for all poles and columns and accommodates circular, rectangular, and H-section poles. It is extremely versatile.

Ease of Emergency repair

PileMedic® is versatile; “one-size fits all”. This is a great help in emergency repairs after a disaster like a hurricane or earthquake, where many poles must be quickly shored up. The PileMedic® repair system is instantly available from stock.

Freedom from Surface Repair & Preparation

Most currently available repair systems such as the FRP wet layup, require the damaged pole to be carefully repaired and patched to the original shape. The resin saturated fabrics takes the shape of the pole. Rough and uneven surfaces must be restored before they are wrapped as the wrap must be almost perfectly straight to develop decent strength. The cylinder of SuperLaminate™ is inherently true and straight. The injection of resin automatically fills all irregularities. No surface preparation is needed.

One piece Solid Shell Permits Pressurization

Current repair shells usually have two or more sections bolted together. This makes them weak, and does not allow pressurization of the filler material. In contrast, the SuperLaminate™ shell is wrapped around the damaged pole to form a “seamless” one-piece shell that is extremely strong and can accommodate high pressure injection. The injected resin penetrates deeply into the damaged wood.

Corrosion-resistant Materials

Many existing systems use metallic bands and straps or steel bolts to connect the pieces together. These metal parts are subject to corrosion and deteriorate over time. This is a major concern in coastal and marine environments and other corrosive environments. In contrast, the SuperLaminate™ shell uses only composite FRP materials that have excellent corrosion resistance and do not rust. There are no metallic straps or bolts.

No Trench Needed

Utility poles are often damaged below the surface. Conventional repairs require a trench to uncover the problem area and allow it to be restored. PileMedic® eliminates this expensive and time consuming process. It installs directly, and penetrates the earth to surround the subsurface defects and fill them with resin. No more trenching!

This table contains a printed pdf sheet and a short video for some of the tests and projects.
Description Flyer in PDF Short Video
Tests of Timber Utility Poles at Tucson Electric Power (TEP) Flyer1 Flyer2 Video