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Massachusetts Tags MATECH Technology for Bridge Health

November 19, 2007

Massachusetts engaged MATECH's patented EFS technology to find growing fatigue cracks in highway bridges.


LOS ANGELES, CA /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Material Technologies, Inc. (BULLETIN BOARD: MTTG) ("MATECH") announced that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassHighway) had invited them to use their patented Electrochemical Fatigue Sensor (EFS) technology to inspect a key bridge near Springfield, MA, and this inspection was completed at the end of this past summer.

This bridge had previously documented cracks at fatigue-sensitive details that had been retrofitted to mitigate fatigue cracking. The overriding purpose for utilizing EFS as an analysis tool here was to help MassHighway identify the effectiveness of the retrofits and inspect similar fatigue-sensitive details for potential fatigue cracking. MATECH's EFS is the only practical bridge inspection technology that can find growing cracks.

Of the state's 3000 steel bridges, almost 400 are considered structurally deficient and another 140 functionally obsolete. (Data as of year end 2006.) Each of these bridges must, by federal law, be inspected every two years, but if there are apparent problems the inspections are more frequent.

Most inspections are done visually. This is not an adequate means of inspection, since 90 percent or more of the cracks that are growing are completely missed with visual inspection alone, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

MATECH's EFS measures the activity of growing cracks in metal bridges under ordinary traffic conditions, similar to the way an EKG monitors the heart. It has proven a very reliable way to determine whether an observed crack in a metal structure is growing or not. A growing crack is an indicator of fatigue damage, and calls for a means of halting the growth by a repair or bridge member replacement or adding local support.

Robert M. Bernstein, MATECH's CEO says, "MATECH has performed more than twenty field tests on actual highway and railroad bridges around the country, and we have every confidence that our EFS can save many repair and rehabilitation dollars by its timely use, as well as avoiding lane and bridge closures which can have a devastating effect on local commerce, not to mention avoiding potential tragedies of bridge failures."

The Springfield bridge inspection was done by MATECH as a subconsultant to Lichtenstein Consulting Engineers, for the convenience of MassHighway, and performed in conjunction with Lichtenstein's routine visual inspection of the bridge. The EFS inspection demonstrated to MassHighway officials the efficacy of using this technology on all the state's steel bridges to determine the status of known structural cracks, and to allow an estimate to be made of potential savings by using EFS to prioritize needed repairs. Its history and reliability in detecting growing cracks are well established.

About Material Technologies, Inc.
MATECH is an engineering, research and development company specializing in technologies to measure microscopic fractures and flaws in metal structures and monitor metal fatigue in real time. The company's leading edge metal fatigue detection, measurement and monitoring solutions can accurately test the integrity of metal structures and equipment including bridges, railroads, airplanes, ships, cranes, power plants, mining equipment, piping systems and heavy iron.

MATECH owns the only nondestructive testing technology able to find growing cracks as minute as 0.01 inches—critical information that allows structural engineers to isolate and repair the more than 100,000 steel bridges in the US which have been classified as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete by the Federal Highway Administration. MATECH has exclusive rights to seven patents along with $8.3 million in already completed contracts from the US Government for research, testing and validation of its innovative solutions.


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