WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) today reintroduced the Composite Standards Act—legislation that would establish a design data clearinghouse to disseminate existing guidelines and standards for using composite materials in infrastructure projects. Specifically, it would direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop a data clearinghouse to disseminate guidance on composite technology in sustainable infrastructure. The bill would also direct NIST—in consultation with the National Science Foundation (NSF)—to carry out a four-year pilot program to assist in assessing the feasibility of adopting composite technology.

“Infrastructure has been and continues to be a top bipartisan priority,” said Senator Capito. “As we continue working to improve, rebuild, and grow America’s infrastructure, it’s important that we make sure individuals and businesses have the information they need to get it right. That includes information on using composites in infrastructure projects—something that would help encourage both sustainability and innovation in construction, as well as help lower costs on a wide range of critical projects. I’m proud to reintroduce this legislation that will help make the case for using composites in various projects with the help of institutions like our very own West Virginia University.”

“Composite materials hold great promise for repairing our nation’s aging infrastructure—both in terms of cost-savings and improved performance,” said Senator Peters, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, Maritime, Freight, and Ports. “I’m pleased to join Senator Capito in reintroducing this bipartisan bill, which will encourage composite technologies in rebuilding our roads, bridges and ports in Michigan and across the country.”

The North American carbon fiber market is expected to witness significant growth. This growth is driven by increased demand for fuel-efficient and lightweight vehicles, accelerated usage in aerospace and defense sector, and increasing usage in renewable energy.

In February 2017, NIST released the “Road Mapping Workshop on Overcoming Barriers to Adoption of Composites in Sustainable Infrastructure.” NIST found that the top three barriers for composite adoption were: training and education, codes and standards, and durability and service life prediction. As a result, NIST identified three activities or tasks to overcome these barriers: durability testing, design data clearinghouse, and education and training.

By establishing a design data clearinghouse to disseminate existing guidelines and standards for using composite materials in infrastructure projects, the bill introduced by Senator Capito will help eliminate one of the barriers NIST identified and enable more individuals and businesses to take advantage of the opportunities created by composites.  

# # #