The repair of structurally deficient, damaged, and substandard civil infrastructure has become a critical issue for the construction industry worldwide. The developed countries such as the US and Canada completed most of their infrastructure in the latter half of the 20th Century. This is why the rehabilitation of existing concrete members is fast growing in the developed part of the world. Since the 1980s, the realization of the importance of specific material properties: stiffness, weight, resistance to corrosion, ease of installation, tailorability, and durability is encouraging the use of advanced composite materials (FRP) in the rehabilitation of structures.
Fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites are now widely used to rehabilitate reinforced concrete members. FRP or advanced composite materials have shown tremendous potential for use in civil engineering applications because of their attractive characteristics: corrosion-resistance, light weight, durability, and high strength-to-weight ratio. The application of advanced composites in the renewal of existing RC structures such as bridges, roads, waterside buildings, etc. is of great significance. Over the past few years, their use has been increased in the rehabilitation activities due to low lifecycle costs, ease of installation, and tailorable performance properties.
The civil structures are generally designed to have a service life in excess of 100 years. However, some structures fail to meet the changing requirements as a result of the change in the use and condition of a structure which can include:
- Increased live and dead load
- Modern design practice
- New loading requirements
- Change in load path
- Construction errors
- Structural degradation
Corrosion is the most common phenomenon that leads to structural degradation, especially where a structure is exposed to an aggressive environment.
The costs of rehabilitation materials are usually less important as the rehabilitation process involve societal and labor costs. The initial cost of FRP composites can be high. However, the high initial cost of these innovative materials can be offset by increasing the speed of construction, reducing labor cost and traffic disruption. Lightweight and easy-to-install materials enable civil engineers to complete projects quickly without causing heavy indirect costs.
The use of advanced composite materials to repair or upgrade concrete members offers two major benefits: quick completion of project and durability. The durability factor is not given much importance as rehabilitation activities are meant to serve short-term objectives. The relative ease of material handling leads to reduced construction time and cost. In other words, the rehabilitation of deteriorated concrete structures with FRP composites lowers indirect costs.
Over the past two decades, the sophisticated manufacturing techniques have helped GFRP manufacturers produce high-quality construction products with minimal voids and accurate fiber alignment. The growing acceptance and the development of new design codes reflect that these innovative materials have the potential to build and maintain sustainable concrete infrastructure in a cost-effective manner. The capacity of advanced composites to extend the life of old or damaged structures with minimum disruption to users makes for genuinely sustainable construction solutions.
TUF-BAR, a member of Canada Green Building Council, designs and produces the highest-quality GFRP fiberglass rebar and accessories in Canada and across North America. Our goal is to deliver sustainable construction materials that can permanently resolve structural problems associated with concrete deterioration and strengthen the overall concrete infrastructure. Contact us to know more about our fiberglass reinforcement products!